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Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Belle River, LA

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Start Preamble Start Printed Page 56516


Coast Guard, DHS.


Final rule.


The Coast Guard is changing the operating schedule that governs the State Route 70 pontoon bridge across Belle River, mile 23.8, at Pierre Part, Assumption Parish, Louisiana. During June, July and August this bridge will open on signal on the hour from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. This rule is being changed to decrease vehicle congestion during the summer.


This rule is effective October 14, 2020.


To view documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to Type USCG-2018-0955 in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH.” Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this rule.

Start Further Info


If you have questions on this rule, call or email Mr. Doug Blakemore, Eighth Coast Guard District Bridge Administrator; telephone (504) 671-2128, email

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information


I. Table of Abbreviations

CFR Code of Federal Regulations

DHS Department of Homeland Security

FR Federal Register

LADOTD Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development

OMB Office of Management and Budget

NPRM Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Advance, Supplemental)

SR State Route

§ Section

U.S.C. United States Code

II. Background Information and Regulatory History

On April 16, 2019 the Coast Guard published a notice of temporary deviation from regulations entitled Drawbridge Operation Regulations, Belle River, LA in the Federal Register (84 FR 15581), to collect and analyze information on vehicle and vessel traffic congestion on SR 70 created when the drawbridge opens to vessel traffic during periods of high vehicle traffic. We received five comments. All were in favor of the regulation change.

On May 13, 2020 the Coast Guard published a notice of proposed rulemaking entitled Drawbridge Operation Regulations, Belle River, LA in the Federal Register (85 FR 28542), to seek public comments on whether the Coast Guard should consider modifying the current operating schedule to the SR70 drawbridge. We received 0 comments.

III. Legal Authority and Need for Rule

The Coast Guard is issuing this rule under authority 33 U.S.C. 499.

LADOTD requested to change the drawbridge operating schedule for the SR70 pontoon bridge across the Belle River, mile 23.8, at Pierre Part, Assumption, LA. This bridge currently opens on signal except that from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., the draw opens on signal if at least four hours' notice is given. LADOTD requested to open the bridge on signal on the hour during June, July and August from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day.

This waterway is heavily used by recreational vessels during the summer months. The bridge has a vertical clearance of zero feet in the closed to vessel traffic position and unlimited vertical clearance in the open to vessel traffic position.

During a 105 day period LADOTD measured the vehicle and vessel queues created when the bridge opened on the hour. LADOTDs analysis of this data demonstrated that opening the bridge on the hour (vice on signal) reduced the average vehicle queue from 105 vehicles to 25 vehicles. There were no vessel queues created by this change.

This change reduces vehicle congestion during summer months and provides for the reasonable needs of navigation.

IV. Discussion of Comments, Changes and the Final Rule

There were 5 comments during the temporary regulation change and no comments during the NPRM. The Coast Guard provided a comment period of 60 days during each of these changes. Based on the LADOTD data this rule decreases vehicle congestion and provides vessels with the reasonable ability to use the waterway. We identified no impacts on marine navigation with this rule.

V. Regulatory Analyses

The Coast Guard has developed this rule after considering numerous statutes and Executive Orders related to rulemaking. Below we summarize our analyses based on a number of these statutes and Executive Orders, and we discuss First Amendment rights of protesters.

A. Regulatory Planning and Review

Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess the costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits. Executive Order 13771 directs agencies to control regulatory costs through a budgeting process. This rule has not been designated a “significant regulatory action,” under Executive Order 12866. Accordingly, it has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and pursuant to OMB guidance it is exempt from the requirements of Executive Order 13771.

This regulatory action determination is based on the lack of commercial vessel traffic on this waterway, and the recreational boats that routinely transit the bridge under the proposed schedule. Those vessels with a vertical clearance requirement of less than 9.7 feet above mean high water may transit the bridge at any time, and the bridge will open in case of emergency at any time. This regulatory action takes into account the reasonable needs of vessel and vehicular traffic.

B. Impact on Small Entities

The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA), 5 U.S.C. 601-612, as amended, requires federal agencies to consider the potential impact of regulations on small entities during rulemaking. The term “small entities” comprises small businesses, not-for-profit organizations that are independently owned and operated and are not dominant in their fields, and governmental jurisdictions with populations of less than 50,000. The Coast Guard received 0 comments from the Small Business Administration on this rule. The Coast Guard certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

While some owners or operators of vessels intending to transit the bridge may be small entities, for the reasons stated in section V.A. above, this rule will not have a significant economic impact on any vessel owner or operator.

Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-121), we want to assist small entities in understanding this rule. If the rule would affect your small business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction and you have questions Start Printed Page 56517concerning its provisions or options for compliance, please contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section.

Small businesses may send comments on the actions of Federal employees who enforce, or otherwise determine compliance with, Federal regulations to the Small Business and Agriculture Regulatory Enforcement Ombudsman and the Regional Small Business Regulatory Fairness Boards. The Ombudsman evaluates these actions annually and rates each agency's responsiveness to small business. If you wish to comment on actions by employees of the Coast Guard, call 1-888-REG-FAIR (1-888-734-3247). The Coast Guard will not retaliate against small entities that question or complain about this rule or any policy or action of the Coast Guard.

C. Collection of Information

This rule calls for no new collection of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520).

D. Federalism and Indian Tribal Government

A rule has implications for federalism under Executive Order 13132, Federalism, if it has a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the National Government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. We have analyzed this rule under that Order and have determined that it is consistent with the fundamental federalism principles and preemption requirements described in Executive Order 13132.

Also, this rule does not have tribal implications under Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, because it does not have a substantial direct effect on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes.

E. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1531-1538) requires Federal agencies to assess the effects of their discretionary regulatory actions. In particular, the Act addresses actions that may result in the expenditure by a State, local, or tribal government, in the aggregate, or by the private sector of $100,000,000 (adjusted for inflation) or more in any one year. Though this rule will not result in such an expenditure, we do discuss the effects of this rule elsewhere in this preamble.

F. Environment

We have analyzed this rule under Department of Homeland Security Management Directive 023-01, Rev.1, associated implementing instructions, and Environmental Planning Policy COMDTINST 5090.1 (series) which guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f). The Coast Guard has determined that this action is one of a category of actions that do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. This rule promulgates the operating regulations or procedures for drawbridges and s categorically excluded from further review, under paragraph L49, of Chapter 3, Table 3-1 of the U.S. Coast Guard Environmental Planning Implementation Procedures.

Neither a Record of Environmental Consideration nor a Memorandum for the Record are required for this rule.

G. Protest Activities

The Coast Guard respects the First Amendment rights of protesters. Protesters are asked to contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section to coordinate protest activities so that your message can be received without jeopardizing the safety or security of people, places or vessels.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 117

  • Bridges
End List of Subjects

For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard amends 33 CFR part 117 as follows:

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End Part Start Amendment Part

1. The authority citation for part 117 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 33 U.S.C. 499; 33 CFR 1.05-1; and Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1.

End Authority Start Amendment Part

2. Revise § 117.424 to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Belle River.

The draw of the SR70 bridge, mile 23.8 near Belle River, shall open on signal; except that, from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., the draw shall open on signal if at least four hours notice is given, and from June 1 through August 31 the draw shall open on signal on the hour from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. The bridge shall open anytime at the direction of the District Commander.

Start Signature

Dated: August 18, 2020.

John P. Nadeau,

Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2020-19475 Filed 9-11-20; 8:45 am]