Please Note ThatÂ PostingsÂ Below From Fellow Cruisers Are Listed in Chronological Order, Based on Publication Date
Yellow Background Denotes Navigation Alert Postings
Please Note ThatÂ PostingsÂ Below From Fellow Cruisers Are Listed in Chronological Order, Based on Publication Date
Yellow Background Denotes Navigation Alert Postings
Lying flat on the water surface makes these buoys almost invisible, resulting in a number of FWC boating citations for speeding. Hwy 312 fixed bridge crosses the Waterway south of the Bridge of Lions.
CLICK HERE FOR Downed safety buoys virtually invisible on Intracoastal Waterways in St. Augustine from First Coast News
A beach comber’s dream!
A Mysterious Centuries-Old Shipwreck Just Washed Up On A North Florida Beach from iflscience.com
Cruisers’ Net is always glad to hear from experienced cruiser David Burnham, a true Cruiser Helping Cruisers and we look forward to the next log page of his current cruise. Be assured that David’s observations and advice can be trusted and passed along to your cruising colleagues. See Closures Ahead for the latest LNM on the FEC RR bridge in Jacksonville.
I took a sailboat from Palatka, Florida (on the St. Johns River) around through Jacksonville and down to Saint Augustine today. Apart from the FEC railroad bridge problems in downtown Jacksonville, I have a few other items that may interest cruisers. READ MORE!
See also EF Local Notices to Mariners for other navigation issues
The City Marina has re-opened after being severely damaged by Hurricane Irma and is accepting transients. The marina has no fuel at this point, but the marina is staffed 24/7, has ice and the dinghy dock is open. Call ahead, 904-825-1026 to request services or make a reservation.
St. Augustine Municipal Marina losing half of its revenue
CLICK HERE FOR THIS VIDEO REPORT by Jessica Clark of WTLV
Our thanks to Barbara Hart for this notice on the Bridge of Lions. As most boaters know, the Bridge of Lions has been the topic of much community dissent over its opening schedule, see /167541.
For those arriving in St. Augustine Sunday morning, Nov 12, the Bridge of Lions will be closed 7:30 AM-10:30 AM for a road race.
Cruiser in St. Augustine
The Marker R60 to which Jim refers is just west of the St. Augustine Inlet proper. Our continued thanks to Peg and Jim Healy for sharing their observations and advice. The Healys are dating themselves and showing their sense of humor with the reference to Will Robinson.
ALERT, Will Robinson! ALERT!
At St. Augustine – Experienced cruisers know that southbound approaching St. Augustine, the ICW hugs the barrier island to the east, and takes a hard STBD at floating R”60.” READ MORE!
Peg and Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary, currently at Rock Creek, Pasadena, MD
Monk 36 Hull #132
According to their answering recording, the City Marina has re-opened after being severely damaged by Hurricane Irma and is accepting transients. The marina has no fuel at this point, but the marina is staffed 24/7, has ice and the dinghy dock is open. Call ahead, 904-825-1026 to request services or make a reservation.
A call by city officials and the local populace to further restrict the opening schedule at the Bridge of Lions has been under consideration by the USCG for most of this year. This decision not to restrict the opening schedule is good news for boaters. See Schedule Controversy from April of this year.
CURFEWS IMPOSED ACROSS NORTHEAST FLORIDA
Jacksonville, FL – Curfews have been imposed in many parts of Northeast Florida because of Hurricane Irma.
The curfew for Jacksonville’s beaches started Saturday night at 10PM and continued through 6AM Sunday. That will continue until further notice. Alcohol sales have also been prohibited until further notice.
All of us “short masted” vessels have experienced the concerns that Bill Raynor expresses. Considering wind tides, varying lunar tides, displaced clearance boards and sea rise, bridge clearances, even at fixed bridges, have become almost mystical. Whatever the particular situation, good communication with the bridge tender is required and erring on the side of caution should be the byword. SSECN will continue to publish “official” clearances with the admonishment to boaters to approach any fixed structure with caution, especially where currents are adverse. Thank you, Bill, for raising this issue.
Since recently buying a trawler after 18 years on a sailboat, “Closed Bridge Clearances” have suddenly become of interest to me, since my trawler requires 19 feet. READ MORE!
Saw the item about bridge clearances – fyi, I have an article coming out in September’s Cruising World on just this issue, but on the 65 foot height issue. You might want to mention that to your readers.
David and Jaculeyn continue sharing the log of Elske via their delightful blog, The Voyage of Elske on America’s Great Loop. This page recounts their visit to the historic St. Augustine LightHouse which stands 161ft on St. Augustine Beach east of the Waterway.
The St Augustine Lighthouse is well worth visiting on Anastasia Island. The Museum is highly educational for all ages. If a person is inclined, the 14 stories can be climbed- 219!steps! David & I enjoyed a leisurely stroll through the exhibits but did not attempt the climb … perhaps some other time. READ MORE!
We learned about the history of the many shipwrecks, hurricanes and even an earthquake affecting St Augustine over the centuries. This Lighthouse saw Loyalist refugees from Charleston arrive after the Revolutionary War. The Civil War had immense influence here. It was directly affected by German UBoat submarines in WW2. Much archeological investigation is continuing here into the life local inhabitants such as the Lighthouse Keepers.
Another part of the property was devoted to the promotion and preservation of wooden boat building skills. The boats being built were exquisite.
Elske departs At 0705 on Memorial Day. We hate to leave after a long sojourn.
It is a very low “astronomical” low tide. The Bridge of Lions usually has a clearance height of 18 ft but today the side board registered 23 ft.
David and Jaculeyn continue sharing the log of Elske via their delightful blog, The Voyage of Elske on America’s Great Loop. This page recounts their visit to St. Augustine, a popular north Florida stop for Waterway cruisers.
Fun for your kids and your dog, too. What more could you want?Besides games for kids, the Fest includes a contest developed especially for the festival: Astillero de Perro, our amateur dog agility contest. The term Astillero de Perro is Spanish that translates the Dog Who Owns the Boatyard, with many cruisers now having canine companions on their boats, we especially want to peak their interest in participating or joining with their pups as spectators. The festival is a dog friendly venue. Of note, the Scottie dog in the first boat is a caricature of our First Mate, Sassy, who traveled aboard our Ingrid 38. She was a 1st Place 2015 winner in the “Diving for Treasure” competition.
4TH MARITIME FUN FEST St Augustine Maritime Heritage Festival
Dates: Saturday May 20, 2017 and Sunday May 21, 2017
Location: Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park, 11 Magnolia Ave, St Augustine FL 32084
Time: Saturday, May 20 9am to 5pm Sunday, May 21 9am to 5pm READ MORE!
A Saturday (5/20/17) 6pm-8:30pm evening event is offered:
The 14th Colony’s Evening with Governor James Grant. Food menu by sponsor S.A.i.R.A. Live music and dancing under the stars at the Pavilion transports to a time in the 18th century when Governor Grant wined and dined with the good people of St Augustine. Tickets are $30 per person and are available for purchase on line at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/14th-colonys-evening-with-governor-james-grant-tickets-34263798945?aff=es2
Linda R Allen
SAMHF Media Director
Marine Trawlers Owners Association continues to be active in seeking political settlements to legislative actions adversely affecting boaters. A call by city officials and the local populace to further restrict the opening schedule at the Bridge of Lions is currently under consideration by the USCG. Our thanks to Mike Bodin and Peter Colket for this information.
A large Ahoy Mates call is sent out to the boating community to protect our boating rights from unnecessary new laws that will restrict our use of the waterways [including the Bridge of Lions in St. Augustine, FL].
Please include this update on the Bridge of Lions. The St. Augustine Fl. city residents are now at a count of over 100 responses to reduce bridge openings to the Coast Guard.
Another matter on the AICWW, boats traveling south through Florida will encounter the Bridge of Lions (18’ vertical clearance) in St. Augustine. The local newspaper, “St. Augustine Record”, is encouraging residents of the city to flood the Coast Guard with comments favoring reduced bridge openings due to automotive traffic back up
Please, if you would, contact,
Stating your opposition to any further Bridge of Lions opening restrictions and you may want to include a couple of the enclosed points of interest. Your communication only needs to be a few sentences.
The city of St. Augustine recently replaced the Bridge of Lions across the AICWW at St. Augustine which is causing major traffic jams. The city chose to duplicate the 90-year-old antiquated architecture of the original 1927 Bridge of Lions. Today, St. Augustine has 4 million tourists per year and the city’s residential population has dramatically increased from 1927. The City of St. Augustine has created their own never ending problem with regards to traffic congestion.
A few years ago, the city contacted the Coast Guard to establish bridge opening restrictions. The Coast Guard conducted their open comment time and determined the citizens of St. Augustine were justified in their request and granted their requested opening restrictions. The city is now requesting even further restrictions. In the past, boating groups were not organized nor involved in preserving reasonable access to the waterway.
Basic present opening restrictions
Daily bridge openings on the hour and half from 7:am-6:pm except 8 am, 12 noon, and 5 pm, Weekends on the hour and half from.7:am-6:pm
Daily increase hour and half opening time from 6:pm to 9 pm, including no openings at 8 am, 12 noon, 5pm. Weekends extend hour and half openings from 6 pm to 9 pm and no
openings from 3:pm to 4: pm.
Points of Concern:
> Bridge of Lions 76’ width is the narrowest of the 91 bridges along Florida’s AICWW, it is the most struck bridge by vessels, and determined not to meet Coast Guard bridge regulations.
> Extreme perpendicular to the bridge currents are encountered due to the presence of the Atlantic Ocean inlet, high spring tides and lunar tide rates.
> Modern Route 312 bridge (65’clearance) is located just 2 miles south of Bridge of Lions and could help to relieve Bridge of Lions traffic congestion
> 2 marinas, a mooring field, and an anchoring area next to the Bridge of Lions is a cause for increased vessel congestion
>The AICWW traffic has increased from 1927 rates due to more boaters traveling with air conditioning upon it for destinations to the Keys, Bahamas, and now Cuba
> With only 18’ vertical clearance all sail boats passing will require openings. Due to high currents, sail boats will have to circle for 30 or 60-minutes waiting for the bridge to open.
> Increased currents make it difficult for power vessels to stand position, while sail boats in close proximity are for the anticipated bridge opening in close proximity
> Increasing the 6pm to 9pm period for half hour opening restrictions will result in winter months when it’s dark for boats to stack up to wait for the next bridge opening, sail boats will be circulating, power standing position, marina and mooring boats leaving and arriving, the city lights in the background all in a close proximity is dangerous.
>The two commercial Tourist boats go out and return 4 times each, daily they require bridge openings. Request they proceed south along the AICWW requiring no bridge openings
> The U.S. Department of Transportation concluder a six-year study and presented it to the city of St. Augustine in 1999 concluding the Bridge of Lions 1927 design was “functionally Obsolete”. St. Augustine disregarded the DOT study and completed the Bridge of Lions in 2005 to the original 1927 design. Thus, traffic congestion was not relieved.
> The city is asking for automotive traffic relief at the expense by increasing boating congestion to the determent of safety.
Pease send a comment to the Coast Guard expressing opposition for unjustified proposed navigation restrictions
upon the AICWW by reducing Bridge of Lions openings.
MTOA Public Advocate
Posted by Peter Colket, President MTOA on USCG comments page:
I am commenting on behalf of Marine Trawler Owners Association. MTOA is a national boating club of the 2.341 members, 29% of whom are Florida residents.
MTOA members oppose further restrictions to the Bridge of Lions opening schedule because of boaters’ safety. Reducing the number of openings at any bridge causes congestion on the waterway, which can increase the likelihood of collisions. This is especially true in locations where swift currents affect the movements of vessels. Bridge of Lions is such a location. In addition to swift currents, boaters must be concerned about the proximity of mooring fields on both sides of the bridge, the City Marina on the South side, and vessel traffic entering and departing the marina and moorings.
We sympathize with people in land vehicles waiting for bridges, and we understand the traffic congestion issues in St. Augustine. But solving those problems by increasing hazards on the waterway is no solution. We urge the U.S. Coast Guard not to change the Bridge of Lions opening schedule as requested by the City of St. Augustine.
Peter K. Colket
Palm Coast, Florida
Marine Trawler Owners Association
Our thanks to experienced cruiser and long-time Cruisers’ Net contributor, Gregory Yount, for this Federal Register posting requesting comments on proposed changes to the opening schedule at the Bridge of Lions. See our earlier postings Changes Possible to Bridge of Lions? and Request for Further Comment for more information.
Here is the notice regarding bridge opening restrictions: READ MORE
Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, St. Augustine, FL
This Proposed Rule document was issued by the Coast Guard (USCG)
For related information, Open Docket Folder
Advance notice of proposed rulemaking.
The Coast Guard is seeking comments and information concerning a proposal to change the operating schedule for the Bridge of Lions across the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, St. Augustine, Florida. The City of St. Augustine is concerned that vehicle traffic is becoming exponentially worse with each passing season and that on-demand bridge openings are contributing to vehicle traffic backups. The proposed modification would extend the twice an hour draw opening period from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, and preclude the bridge draw from opening at 3:30 p.m. on weekends and Federal holidays.
Comments and related material must reach the Coast Guard on or before May 15, 2017.
You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG-2016-0723 using the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. See the “Public Participation and Request for Comments” portion of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for further instructions on submitting comments.
For Further Information Contact
If you have questions about this notice, call or email MST1 Timothy Fosdick, Sector Jacksonville, Waterways Management Division, U.S. Coast Guard; telephone 904-714-7623, email Timothy.P.Fosdick@uscg.mil.
Table of Abbreviations
CFR Code of Federal Regulations
DHS Department of Homeland Security
FR Federal Register
NPRM Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
ANPRM Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
§ Section Symbol
U.S.C. United States Code
A. Public Participation and Request for Comments
We view public participation as essential to effective rulemaking, and will consider all comments and material received during the comment period. Your comment can help shape the outcome of this rulemaking. If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this rulemaking, indicate the specific section of this document to which each comment applies, and provide a reason for each suggestion or recommendation.
We encourage you to submit comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. If your material cannot be submitted using http://www.regulations.gov, contact the person in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document for alternate instructions.
We accept anonymous comments. All comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov and will include any personal information you have provided. For more about privacy and the docket, you may review a Privacy Act notice regarding the Federal Docket Management System in the March 24, 2005, issue of the Federal Register (70 FR 15086).
Documents mentioned in this ANPRM as being available in the docket, and all public comments, will be in our online docket at http://www.regulations.gov and can be viewed by following that Web site’s instructions. Additionally, if you go to the online docket and sign up for email alerts, you will be notified when comments are posted or a final rule is published.
B. Regulatory History and Information
In 2015, the City of St. Augustine approached the Coast Guard with a recommendation to amend the Bridge of Lions operating schedule. Shortly thereafter, a meeting was held with the City of St. Augustine, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), bridge owner, and the U.S. Coast Guard to seek improvements to reduce the vehicle traffic backups at the intersection of A1A, the Bridge of Lions, and Avenida Menendez. During the meeting, FDOT agreed to work with the City traffic engineers to develop better traffic signaling techniques to reduce the vehicle traffic backups. In May 2016, the City of St. Augustine proposed an amendment to the bridge operating schedule to reduce vehicle traffic backups in the affected area. The City would like to extend the 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. twice an hour opening schedule to 9 p.m., daily and preclude the bridge draw from opening at 3:30 p.m. on weekends and Federal holidays.
The current operating schedule, as published in 33 CFR 117.261(d), reads as follows: Bridge of Lions (SR A1A) bridge, mile 777.9 at St. Augustine. The draw shall open on signal; except that, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. the draw need open only on the hour and half-hour; however, the draw need not open at 8 a.m., 12 noon, and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday except Federal holidays. From 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and Federal holidays the draw need only open on the hour and half-hour.
In accordance with Nautical Chart 11485, 37th Ed., Nov. 2014, the Bridge of Lions has a vertical clearance of 18 feet in the closed (down) position at mean high water and a horizontal clearance of 79 feet. Additionally, there is a note on the chart stating “Strong tidal currents run perpendicular to the Bridge of Lions opening. Vessels engaged in towing and pushing operations are advised to transit the bridge opening during slack tide and, if necessary, breakdown the tow in small units or use adequate tugs.” In regards to the Bridge of Lions, the U.S. Coast Pilot 4, Chapter 12, Edition 47, 2015 also states “Caution is advised because the tidal currents, particularly ebb, run at right angles to the bridge. It is advisable to drift large tows through this opening at slack water. Normal flood currents of 1 knot and ebb currents of 1.5 knots may be expected. Several mishaps involving the bridge being hit by vessels, which have lost maneuvering control during periods of ebb currents, have occurred. Caution is advised when transiting the area.”
The original Bridge of Lions was built in 1927 and replaced in 2010. The new bridge was completed with no modifications to the vertical or horizontal clearances; therefore, there was no impact to the number of bridge openings due to vessel traffic.
C. Basis and Purpose
The legal basis and authorities for this ANPRM are found in 33 U.S.C. 499, 33 CFR 1.05-1, and Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1. The Coast Guard is considering a change to the operating schedule for the Bridge of Lions across the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, St. Augustine, Florida. The Coast Guard received a request from the City of St. Augustine to modify the operating schedule for the Bridge of Lions in an effort to decrease vehicle traffic backups caused by the significant increase in vehicle traffic combined with the on-demand bridge openings. The purpose of this ANPRM is to solicit comments on a potential proposed rulemaking concerning a request to change the operating schedule for the Bridge of Lions.
D. Discussion of Proposed Rule
Amending the twice an hour opening schedule to a 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. period should not have an unreasonable impact on navigation. However, amending the bridge operating schedule to exclude a 3:30 p.m. opening on weekends and Federal holidays may have a negative impact to the public, as there are many tourists in vehicles and vessels in St. Augustine during these periods. Additional input will be required from the City of St. Augustine to understand why this particular time was selected. It will also be essential to determine whether any commercial vessel operators would be directly impacted by amending the bridge operating schedule.
E. Information Requested
To aid the Coast Guard in developing a proposed rule, we seek any comments, whether positive or negative, including but not limited to: The impact on vessel traffic and/or marine businesses in the area when extending the twice an hour opening; any potential negative impact to vessel traffic or marine businesses of not opening the bridge between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.; whether the extension to 9 p.m. of the Bridge of Lions twice an hour opening schedule would reduce traffic congestion and; if traffic congestion would be reduced if the bridge did not open between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. on weekends and Federal holidays.
Dated: March 9, 2017.
Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Commander, Seventh Coast Guard District.
[FR Doc. 2017-05071 Filed 3-14-17; 8:45 am]
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
Our thanks to Brad Pickle, Director of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association for this article from The St. Augustine Record. 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.
Dear Supporters of the AIWA,
Our partners in Florida asked us to make everyone aware of these proposed changes in the St. Augustine area of the AIWW. The AIWA is not supportive of these changes and will be drafting a letter of concern to the U.S. Coast Guard. We wanted to make sure everyone was aware of these changes in case you also wanted to comment.
Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association
Posted March 21, 2017 04:40 am – Updated March 21, 2017 11:38 am
By SHELDON GARDNER firstname.lastname@example.org
City of St. Augustine asks for U.S. Coast Guard’s help in easing traffic congestion
The U.S. Coast Guard, which controls the bridge’s operating schedule, is looking for public comments about whether to adjust how often the bridge closes to vehicle traffic and opens to boating traffic.
As it stands, 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.
Those on-demand times cause more frequent bridge draws and add to traffic congestion, city officials said.
So the city is asking the Coast Guard to extend the every-half-hour operating schedule from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily and also to stop the bridge from opening at 3:30 p.m. on the weekends and on federal holidays.
“The idea behind it is to at least extend it further into the evening so it’s not opening whenever there’s a commercial vessel … to provide a little more rhythm to the city,” said Reuben Franklin Jr., the city’s mobility program manager.
Details on the plan are in a recently published notice from the Coast Guard in the Federal Register. The plan will be open for public comment through May 17.
The comments will help the Coast Guard determine whether to make changes at all or whether to tweak the city’s plan, said Michael Lieberum, Coast Guard bridge management specialist.
The guard has raised some concern about part of the plan.
“Amending the twice an hour opening schedule to a 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. period should not have an unreasonable impact on navigation,” according to the notice. “However, amending the bridge operating schedule to exclude a 3:30 p.m. opening on weekends and federal holidays may have a negative impact to the public, as there are many tourists in vehicles and vessels in St. Augustine during these periods.”
If the plan does move forward, it still has to go through another round of public comment once the proposed rules are final, he said.
If the guard supports the changes, getting from here to a revised scheduled at the Bridge of Lions will likely take more than a year, he said.
Lieberum said the Coast Guard approaches these types of requests with caution. Typically, the Coast Guard doesn’t issue an “advance notice” like they are in this case.
Sometimes changing a bridge opening schedule can actually make traffic worse, he said.
“You have to judge all this together,” he said. “It’s easier to say changing the bridge will make traffic better. It’s not necessarily the case.”
And this nice bit of history from Glen Moore on AGLCA’s Forum:
Thanks for informing the membership of the City of St. Augustine’s request to reduce opening times for the Bridge of Lions, in downtown St. Augustine. And, more importantly, sharing the information on how to comment to the Coast Guard.
The Bridge of Lions, originally built in 1927, was declared unsafe and required to be replaced in 1999. There was much discussion among residents about the rebuilding. One group (Save Our Bridge) wanted to keep the historic appearance of the bridge, the other group wanted to build a higher bridge to eliminate or reduce the number of openings. The historic group won.
The cost of building a new bridge was doubled by this decision as a new parallel concrete bridge (only to be dismantled later) was built next to the old bridge to carry traffic while the new bridge was built in the same location. And, it is a new bridge – only the four towers are original. The City claimed that they were just rehabbing the old bridge to get around the Coast Guard regulation that new bridges built in noncompliance with CG regulations must be open-on-demand. The city chose appearance over convenience of vehicular traffic. Now, they want to disadvantage boaters because of their decision. This will only be the first of the reductions. Auto traffic in a city designed long before cars will continue to be congested and more requests for reductions in bridge openings will occur.
This is an opportunity to let your voice be heard.
And this advice from Kim Russo, Director of AGLCA
I’ll be commenting on behalf of AGLCA based on what I hear from our members. But I still believe it’s important for individual members to submit their well-thought out comments. Here’s a direct link to submit your comments. There is a link on that page to a “Commenter’s Checklist” that will give you some tips on constructing your comments. https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=USCG-2016-0723-0001
America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association
Camachee Cove Marina,A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, continues to garner words of praise for its facility and staff. Camachee Cove Yacht Harbor is located just off the Waterway’s western shoreline, south of unlighted daybeacon #7 and north of the Vilano Beach Bridge.
Encountered some electrical problems with generator and AC en route to S. Florida. Called Camachee Yacht Yard in St. Augustine and was connected to its president, Peter Sabo. He arranged for me to have service the next day. Technician arrived at boat right on time and quickly resolved both problems. Entire staff could not have been more helpful and competent, and rates were very reasonable. The service was outstanding. Plus, it’s the only marina I have encountered that has its own navigation range! High praise for Camachee Yacht Yard at Camachee Cove Marina!
Oasis Boatyard and Marina is on the north eastern shore of the San Sebastian River upstream of AICW Statute Mile 780. Their website is http://www.oasisboatyardandmarina.com/. Our thanks to Roger Long for this report.Read More