With a closed vertical clearance of 18ft, the Bridge of Lions Bridge crosses the Waterway connecting the heart of downtown St. Augustine with St. Augustine Beach to the east. See comments from the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association on this issue. Our thanks to Mike Bodin of MTOA for this request.
St. Augustine FL. request Coast Guard to further restrict boat traffic under Bridge of Lions.
Coast Guard soliciting boater’s comments. Read More!
Bridge of Lions, (road A1A) was originally constructed in 1927 at 18’ vertical clearance. The bridge was rebuilt in 2010 with the same 18’ vertical clearance. Boaters pointed out 18’ vertical clearance for the new bridge was grossly inadequate for vessels traveling upon AIWW.
St Augustine is experiencing a severe traffic problem due to increased tourism and population growth. http://staugustine.com/news/local-news/2017-03-21/city-staugustine-asks-us-coast-guard-s-help-easing-traffic-congestion
To alleviate the automotive traffic problem, St. Augustine has proposed reducing the Bridge of Lions openings across the AIWW. If enacted, this would require vessels traveling north or south on AIWW to wait additional time for bridge openings at predetermined weekday schedules and an additional hour for Saturdays.
Presently, the bridge opens for boat traffic on the hour and half hour from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day, except for 8 a.m., noon and 5 p.m. on weekdays that aren’t federal holidays. Outside of those times, the bridge opens on-demand for boats.
City officials say, those on-demand times cause more frequent bridge draws and add to traffic congestion. Some city residents dispute this claim nor has a study been conducted. St Augustine is requesting Coast Guard approval to change from the present on demand after 6 p.m. to extend the every-half-hour operating schedule to 9 p.m. weekdays and to stop the bridge from opening at 3:30 p.m. on weekends and on federal holidays.
Marine Trawler Owners Association requests your comments against the new unjustified proposed regulations upon Florida’s Waterways. Contact site:
Once at the site: To add your comment go to the upper right corner and select: “Comment Now”
Further restricting boat traffic impacts the following safety concerns.
A> Safety is a primary consideration. Boats are not like cars. You cannot simply stop the boat, put it into park and wait for the opening. The AIWW Federal Waterway is considered a boater’s highway and heavily used by marine traffic. The newly constructed Bridge of Lions with only 18’ of vertical clearance has since its inception been an impediment to vessel traffic flow. Most of the AIWW reconstructed bridges employ higher vertical heights to account for future increased land traffic flow rates and requiring fewer opening for boaters. Boaters increasingly use this nautical highway for destinations such as the Keys, south Florida, Bahamas, and now Cuba. The present 1 hour bridge opening delay for the morning, afternoon, and evening contributes to vessel congestion. To add another hour opening delay for Saturday furthers AIWW congestion.
B> Perpendicular to the bridge currents are flood 1 knot, ebb 1.5 knots, full moon situations increases flow rates as well as the spring period of even higher currents, increasing station keeping difficulty.
C> St. Augustine Municipal Marina with 90 slips is located next to the Bridge of Lions on the south side, adjacent to the 110 ball-mooring field. (boating congestion)
D> Anchoring north of the bridge is presently being utilized (boating Congestion)
E> Single engine sail boats cannot hold position due to the current and must circle in front of the anchorages and the St. Augustine Municipal Marina. This would interfere with boats entering and departing the marina and anchorages.
F> High wind and foul weather situations, especially Florida’s summer afternoon thunderstorms, would with the current flow, increase the difficulty of station keeping near other vessels presenting a heighten safety consideration.
G> In winter months when it gets darker earlier, the proposed preschedule openings after 6:00 pm would further create a dangerous situation due to vessels waiting for a prescheduled bridge opening. Some vessels circulating, others holding station while boats are entering and leaving the marina would cause a very dangerous situation in the dark with moving traffic against city lights.
As a boating community, we must take the individual effort to protect our “Boaters Rights”. Please take a few minutes and respond to the call by the Coast Guard for your input. Add your own comments or “copy and paste”
In advance thank you for your assistance.
MTOA Public Advocate