You may recall that the Cruisers’ Net featured a whole series of postings a few weeks ago, speculating on whether the newly rebuilt Bridge of Lions in St. Augustine, now has 22 feet of Mean High Water vertical clearance, instead of the 25 foot clearance listed on NOAA chart #11485. Check out the earlier messages at: /bridge-of-lions-vertical-clearance-in-question-statute-mile-778).
Well, as part of our research process, we contacted Ms. Laurie Sanderson, Public Information Officer for the Bridge of Lions Rehabilitation Project. Yesterday (sorry for the delay), we received the reply you will read below. If I might be so bold as to interpret this bureaucratic-ese, I think this means that the bridge is now really only 22 feet off the water at mean high tide. We adjusted this span’s vertical clearance to 22 feet in our “Eastern Florida Bridge Directory” (/bridge-of-lions) after the first set of messages, and now we intend to leave this stat in place!
Thank you for your patience regarding this issue. The contractor on the Bridge of Lions Rehabilitation Project finished taking measurements today. The tide gauge at the Bridge of Lions measures correctly. The measurement is at low iron. You can expect approximately three extra feet of clearance at the center of the bridge.
In regard to the clearance at mean high water posted on your website and on other websites frequented by mariners, the Florida Department of Transportation is concerned about making changes to the commonly accepted mean high water measurement, because it may be the U.S. Coast Guard’s jurisdiction. However, we do maintain that the tide gauge at the Bridge of Lions is accurate and measures at low iron.
I know this is not all of the information you were hoping for, but this is the best information we can provide at this time. Thank you again for your patience and your assistance on this issue.
Public Information Officer