[Federal Register Volume 61, Number 131 (Monday, July 8, 1996)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 35702-35703]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 96-17301]



Coast Guard

33 CFR Part 117
[CGD 11-90-03]

Drawbridge Operation Regulations; Cerritos Channel, CA

AGENCY: Coast Guard, DOT.

ACTION: Supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking.


SUMMARY: At the request of the Port of Los Angeles, the Coast Guard is 
proposing a temporary change to the regulations for the Henry Ford 
Avenue Railroad Bridge (Ford Bridge), across Cerritos Channel of Los 
Angeles/Long Beach Harbor, mile 4.8, at Long Beach, California, to 
authorize a five month (150 day) closure of the bridge to replace the 
movable span and erect the support towers. The proposed closure would 
start November 7, 1996 and conclude on April 7, 1997. If these dates 
change, the actual 5 month closure dates will be advertised in the 
Local Notice to Mariners. The bridge, also known as the Badger Avenue 
Bridge, currently remains open to navigation except for the passage of 
trains. This proposal is being made because the bridge needs to be 
replaced to preserve rail access to Terminal Island and to insure 
reliable service to vessel traffic.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before August 7, 1996.

ADDRESSES: Comments may be mailed to Commander (oan-br), Eleventh Coast 
Guard District, Building 50-6, Coast Guard Island, Alameda, CA 94501-
5100, or may be delivered to the same address between 7 a.m. and 4 
p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone 
number is number is (510) 437-3514. Commander (oan-br) maintains the 
public docket for this rulemaking. Comments will become part of this 
docket and will be available for inspection or copying at Bldg. 10, 
Room 214, Coast Guard Island, Alameda.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Susan Worden, Bridge Section, Eleventh 
Coast Guard District, at (501) 437-3461.


Request for Additional 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 (CGD 11-90-03) and the specific section of 
this proposal to which each comment applies, and give the reason for 
each comment. Persons wanting acknowledgement of receipt of comments 
should enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard or envelope. Comments 
previously submitted have been entered into the record and need not be 
    The Commander, Eleventh Coast Guard district will evaluate all 
communications received and determine a final course of action on this 
proposal. The proposed regulations may be changed in light of the 
comments received.
    The Cost Guard plans no public hearing, but one may be held if 
written requests for a hearing are received, and it is determined that 
the opportunity to make oral presentations will add to the rulemaking 

Discussion of the Proposal

Regulatory History

    This supplements a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking dated August 28, 
1990 (55 FR 35154), which discussed a six and one-half month closure of 
the bridge draw for bridge rehabilitation, from February 1, 1991 
through August 15, 1991. The Ford Bridge provides the only rail access 
to port facilities on Terminal Island. The bridge is over 70 years old 
and no longer meets California seismic standards or Federal Railroad 
Administration clearance standards. The bridge owner determined that 
the bridge could not be rehabilitated economically, and in 1993 applied 
for a permit to replace the bridge. In 1995, the Coast Guard issued a 
permit for its replacement. The new bridge is currently under 
construction, and it is anticipated that the work can be accomplished 
with a slightly shorter closure period. Since more than five years has 
elapsed since the publication of the NPRM, an additional opportunity 
for public comment is being provided. The four comments received on the 
previous NPRM will be considered part of the record.
    The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in 1990 was for the 
earlier plan to rehabilitate the bridge, a plan that is no longer 
feasible. That NPRM, which involved a slightly longer closure, 
generated only four comments: Pacific Towing Company requested one leaf 
operation of the bridge; Jacobson Pilot Service requested the closure 
period to be kept to a minimum; Dow Chemical expressed concern about 
land access during construction; and the Port of Long Beach wrote 
supporting the proposal.
    Because of the change from rehabilitation to reconstruction, it is 
not possible to have the bridge in partial service during the 
construction of the towers and lift span for which the closure is 
necessary. The Coast Guard has reviewed the construction plans and 
determined that the proposed closure is the shortest feasible time 
period consistent with safety and good engineering practice. The bridge 
construction will only cause brief interruptions to rail service or 
land access to nearby facilities.
    The revised bridge plan has been advertised in the Federal Register 
on three occasions: a Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental 
Impact Statement (EIS) (58 F.R. 28087); a Notice of Availability of the 
Draft EIS (59 F.R. 6639); and a Notice of Availability of the final EIS 
(59 F.R. 60631).
    The circulation of the Coast Guard Environmental Impact Statement 
for the Ford Bridge Replacement Project provided additional 
opportunities for public comment on the bridge closure. No comments 
were received addressing the closure. Because the revised plan has been 
advertised extensively and no opposition has thus far been expressed, 
the Coast Guard for good cause believes that a 30 day comment period is 
adequate to solicit any remaining comments on this supplemental notice 
of proposed rulemaking.

Current Proposal

    The Port of Los Angeles has requested the bridge span closure to 
allow them to safely construct the replacement bridge. The proposed 
closure of the span would start November 7, 1996, and conclude on April 
7, 1997. If these dates change, the actual 5 month closure dates will 
be advertised in the Local Notice to Mariners.
    The Ford Avenue Railroad Bridge provides vertical clearance of 14 
feet above Mean Lower Low Water (9 feet above Mean High Water) when 
closed. The waterway is a connecting channel in the Los Angeles/Long 
Beach Harbor complex and is used by oceangoing cargo ships, tugs and 
barges, tour boats,

[[Page 35703]]

commercial fishing vessels and recreational boats. The alternate route 
past the bridge site is through the outer harbor, with a maximum detour 
of 10 miles.

Regulatory Evaluation

    This proposal is not a significant regulatory action under Section 
3(f) of Executive Order 12866 and does not require an assessment of 
costs under section 6(a)(3) of that order. It has not been reviewed by 
the Office of Management and Budget under that order. It is not 
significant under the Department of Transportation Regulatory Policies 
and Procedures (44 FR 11040, February 26, 1979). The draft regulatory 
evaluation prepared for the NPRM has been superceded by the economic 
analysis in the Coast Guard Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) 
for the Ford Bridge Replacement dated November 25, 1994. A copy of the 
FEIS has been placed in the rulemaking docket, and may be inspected and 
copied at the address listed under ADDRESSES.
    Replacement of the existing bridge was determined to be the most 
feasible and prudent alternative. This replacement cannot be 
accomplished without closing the bridge span for a period of months. To 
minimize the impact on the maritime community, the applicant plans to 
work an accelerated schedule to complete the work requiring the bridge 
closure in five months. Increased costs to the marine industry are 
estimated to be $1 million due to detours during a five month closure. 
The overtime work schedule increases overall project costs 
approximately $2.2 million. The applicant estimates that if the 
contractor were required to work only a standard 40 hour work week, 
they would need a closure of eleven months to complete work. Thus, the 
impact to the maritime industry has been minimized. On balance, the 
short term costs due to the detour will be offset by the long-term 
benefits gained by the operation of a new, more reliable bridge. The 
new bridge will ensure uninterrupted rail service to Terminal Island, 
and timely, reliable openings of the bridge for waterborne traffic. 
Construction of a new bridge will minimize the possibility of 
congestion or delays in transit times, which would occur if the 
existing bridge malfunctioned, or was damaged by seismic activity.

Small Entities

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.), the 
Coast Guard must consider whether this proposal will have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. ``Small 
entities'' include independently owned and operated small businesses 
that are not dominant in their field and that otherwise qualify as 
``small business concerns'' under section 3 of the Small Business Act 
(15 U.S.C. 632). During the environmental review process, the Coast 
Guard determined that the economic impact to navigation would be 
approximately $1 million. Almost half of that impact was on the towing 
and tour boat operations of one company who does not qualify as a 
``small business concern''. The remaining economic impact was on 
recreational mariners berthed at nearby marinas and two other towing 
companies. Recreational mariners would have small additional costs to 
travel as much as 5 miles further to fuel docks, pumpout stations, etc. 
The cost per recreational vessel is estimated to be less than $100. the 
towing companies would have additional costs for personnel and fuel to 
travel as much as 5 miles further to towing assignments. The cost per 
towing company is estimated to be less than $100 thousand. These 
companies will all benefit from the reliable operation of the new 
bridge span for many years to come. Since there are only a few small 
entities affected by the 5 month closure, and the effect is short-time, 
the Coast Guard certifies under section 605(b) of the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) that this rule will not have a 
significant impact on a substantial number of small entities.


    The Coast Guard has analyzed this proposal under the principles and 
criteria contained in Executive Order 12612 and has determined that 
this rule does not raise sufficient federalism implications to warrant 
the preparation of a Federalism Assessment.


    The Coast Guard considered the environmental impact of this 
proposal together with the overall impacts of the replacement project 
in their FEIS for the Henry Ford (Badger Avenue) Bridge Replacement 
Project dated November 25, 1994. The principal environmental impact of 
the project was the loss of the existing, historic bridge. The 
environmental impacts of this rule were marine transportation 
disruptions, economic impacts to waterway users, and minor increases in 
air pollution from detouring marine vessels. The Coast Guard determined 
that there was no feasible and prudent alternative to the loss of the 
historic bridge to meet the needs of future transportation and safety. 
A new bridge will allow for increased carriage of goods to and from the 
port by rail, rather than by truck, resulting in a net decrease in air 
pollution. On balance, the short-term impacts to navigation will be 
offset by long-term benefits to navigation from construction of a new, 
more reliable bridge. The FEIS supercedes the draft Environmental 
Assessment prepared for the NPRM. The FEIS is available for review at 
the address under ADDRESSES.

Collection of Information

    This proposal contains no collection of information requirements 
under the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 117


    Regulation: For the reasons set out in the preamble, the Coast 
Guard proposes to amend 33 CFR Part 117 as follows:

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

    Authority: 33 U.S.C. 499; 49 CFR 1.46; and 33 CFR 1.05-1(g); 
section 117.255 also issued under the authority of Pub. L. 102-587, 
106 Stat. 5039.

    2. Section 117.147 is amended by suspending paragraph (b) and 
adding a new paragraph (c) to read as follows:

Sec. 117.147  Cerritos Channel.

* * * * *

    (c) During the period November 7, 1996 through April 7, 1997 the 
Henry Ford Avenue railroad bridge, mile 4.4 at Long Beach, will be 
undergoing reconstruction and the draw need not open for the passage of 

    Dated: June 20, 1996.

D.D. Polk,

Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Commander, Eleventh Coast Guard District 

[FR Doc. 96-17301 Filed 7-5-96; 8:45 am]