[Federal Register Volume 59, Number 145 (Friday, July 29, 1994)]
[Unknown Section]
[Page 0]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 94-18548]

[[Page Unknown]]

[Federal Register: July 29, 1994]


33 CFR Part 117

RIN 2115-AE47


Drawbridge Operation Regulations; Gallants Channel, Beaufort, NC

agency: Coast Guard, DOT.

action: Temporary rule.


summary: In order to evaluate changes requested by the Carteret County 
Chamber of Commerce through the North Carolina Department of 
Transportation to the drawbridge opening regulation for the U.S. 70 
Bridge across Gallants Channel, mile 0.1, in Beaufort, North Carolina, 
the Coast Guard is temporarily changing the regulations for a 60-day 
period. The flow of traffic across the bridge and the impact on marine 
traffic through the bridge during this period will be evaluated to 
determine whether the existing regulations should be amended. The 
current regulation requires that the bridge open on signal every hour 
on the half hour from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. for pleasure craft. The 
bridge opens on demand for all other vessels. The change being tested 
will have the bridge open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., three times an hour; 
on the hour and twenty and forty minutes after the hour for all waiting 
vessels, commercial and recreational. From 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., the 
bridge shall open on signal.
    These changes to the drawbridge regulations are intended to provide 
for regularly scheduled drawbridge openings to reduce motor vehicle 
delays and congestion resulting from random bridge openings while still 
providing for the reasonable needs of navigation.

effective dates: This regulation becomes effective at 6 a.m. Eastern 
Daylight Time (EDT) on Monday, August 1, 1994. It terminates at 6 p.m. 
(EDT) on Thursday, September 29, 1994. Comments must be received on or 
before September 29, 1994.

for further information contact: Ann B. Deaton, Bridge Administrator, 
Fifth Coast Guard District, (804) 398-6222.


Request for Comments

    The Coast Guard encourages interested persons to participate in 
this rulemaking by submitting written data, views, or arguments. 
Persons submitting comments should include their names and addresses, 
identify this rulemaking (CGD05-94-046) and the specific section of 
this deviation to which each comment applies, and give the reason for 
each comment. The Coast Guard requests that all comments and 
attachments be submitted in an unbound format suitable for copying and 
electronic filing. If not practical, a second copy of any bound 
material is requested. Persons wanting acknowledgment of receipt of 
comments should enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard or envelope.
    The Coast Guard will consider all comments received during the 
comment period. It may change this deviation in view of the comments.
    The Coast Guard plans no public hearing. Persons may request a 
public hearing by writing to the Commander (ob) at the address under 
ADDRESSES. The request should include reasons why a hearing would be 
beneficial. If it determines that the opportunity for oral 
presentations will aid this rulemaking, the Coast Guard will hold a 
public hearing at a time and placed announced by a later notice in the 
Federal Register.

Drafting Information

    The drafters of this regulation are Bill H. Brazier, Project 
Officer, and LT Monica L. Lombardi, Project Attorney, Fifth Coast Guard 

Discussion of Regulation

    The Carteret County, Chamber of Commerce, through the North 
Carolina Department of Transportation, originally requested the Coast 
Guard to change the operating regulations of the Beaufort U.S. 70 
bridge to restrict navigational openings to commercial users to one 
opening at the top of each hour, and restrict recreational boaters to 
one opening at the bottom of the hour. To supplement this request, they 
provided copies of 1993 bridge logs which showed as many as 480 
openings per month during the peak summer season. These logs showed the 
bridge opened as many as eight times an hour for commercial vessels. We 
also were provided with traffic counts by the North Carolina Department 
of Transportation which showed average annual vehicle traffic counts of 
20,000 per day during the peak tourist season. The numerous openings of 
the bridge cause vehicular traffic delays and traffic safety problems. 
At times, bridge openings have backed traffic up through the downtown 
area of Beaufort to the east and west into Morehead City across the 
channel. The intent of the requested restrictions is to reduce the 
number of bridge openings and improve the flow of highway traffic.
    The Coast Guard conducted an investigation into the operation of 
the bridge, consulting with the bridge tenders, the Mayor and City 
Council of Beaufort, North Carolina Department of Transportation 
personnel and some of the local commercial waterway users and highway 
users. The Coast Guard, in response to comments received during our 
investigation, has decided to pursue a more balanced approach than that 
originally requested by conducting a test which may lead to the 
establishment of a schedule that will strike a reasonable and 
beneficial compromise for both modes of transportation. We therefore 
will test for sixty days a temporary schedule providing three openings 
per hour for all vessels, the first at the top of the hour, the second 
at twenty minutes past the hour, and the third at forty minutes past 
the hour from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. This temporary change to the existing 
regulation is intended to establish a schedule that will meet the 
reasonable needs of the waterway users and at the same time diminish 
delays to and improve the flow of motor vehicles crossing the bridge.


    This action has been analyzed in accordance with the principles and 
criteria contained in Executive Order 12612, and it has been determined 
that the proposed rulemaking does not have sufficient federalism 
implications to warrant the preparation of a Federalism Assessment.

List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 117


Temporary Regulations

    In consideration of the foregoing, the Coast Guard will temporarily 
amend Part 117 of Title 33, Code of Federal Regulations as follows:


    1. The authority citation for Part 117 continues to read as 

    Authority: 33 U.S.C. 499; 49 CFR 1.46; 33 CFR 1.05-1(g); 33 CFR 

    2. Section 117.822 is temporarily revised to read as follows: (This 
is a temporary rule and will not appear in the Code of Federal 

Sec. 117.822  Beaufort Channel, North Carolina

    (a) From 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., the draw shall open on signal for all 
vessels waiting to pass every hour on the hour, twenty minutes past the 
hour and forty minutes past the hour.
    (b) From 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., the bridge shall open on signal.
    (c) This temporary rule is effective from August 1, 1994, through 
September 29, 1994.

    Dated: July 22, 1994.
W.J. Ecker,
Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard Commander, Fifth Coast Guard District.
[FR Doc. 94-18548 Filed 7-28-94; 8:45 am]