[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 68 (Wednesday, April 8, 2020)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 19658-19659]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-06822]



Coast Guard

33 CFR Part 117

[Docket No. USCG-2020-0033]

Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Rainy River, Rainy Lake and 
Their Tributaries, Ranier, MN

AGENCY: Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION: Notice of temporary deviation from regulations; request for 


SUMMARY: The Coast Guard authorizes the Canadian National Railroad 
Bridge, mile 85.0, across the Rainy River to operate remotely. The 
bridge owner made the request. This temporary deviation will test the 
remote operations with tenders onsite, and will not change the 
operating schedule of the bridge.


[[Page 19659]]

    Effective date: This deviation is effective from midnight on May 1, 
2020 to midnight on October 15, 2020.
    Comment date: Comments and relate material must reach the Coast 
Guard on or before October 16, 2020.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG-
2020-0033 using Federal eRulemaking Portal at https://www.regulations.gov.
    See the ``Public Participation and Request for Comments'' portion 
of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below for instructions on 
submitting comments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: If you have questions on this rule, 
call or email Mr. Lee D. Soule, Bridge Management Specialist, Ninth 
Coast Guard District; telephone 216-902-6085, email 
[email protected].


I. Background, Purpose and Legal Basis

    Rainy River and Rainy Lake serve as the border between the United 
States of America and Canada. The Canadian National bridge is a single 
leaf bascule type railroad bridge that provides a horizontal clearance 
of 125 feet. The water level on Rainey Lake and under the bridge is 
controlled by a hydro-electric dam facility at International Falls, 
Minnesota. Charted datum is based on the water level surface of Rainy 
Lake. When the gauge at Fort Frances, Canada reads 1107.0 feet, it 
results in a variable vertical clearance of 6 to 10 feet in the closed 
position. The railroad bridge carries significant train traffic across 
the international border and is the customs port of entry. The 
drawbridge currently operates under title 33 of the Code of Federal 
Regulation (CFR), Sec.  117.664.
    Prior to March 2011, the Canadian National Bridge was remotely 
operated without authorization from the District Commander and the 
railroad failed to operate the bridge in a manner that supported good 
stewardship of the waterway. After review of the complaints, meetings 
with the town mayor, and after inquiries from the office of the 
Honorable Senator James Oberstar, the District Commander ordered the 
bridge owner to reinstate drawtenders at the bridge by March 2011.
    The bridge owner has requested to resume remote operations at the 
bridge after operating the bridge without complaint for seven boating 
    Several trains cross the bridge daily traveling from a Canadian 
train control district to a United States train control district and 
must stop at the United States port of entry to debark Canadian train 
crews and embark United States train crews and vice versa, depending on 
direction of travel. The train is also inspected prior to entering the 
United States.
    Most of the vessels in the area are Customs and Border Protection 
patrol boats, houseboats, and other runabouts. Unpowered sail and 
paddle craft will pass through the bridge if the current is slow. Eight 
vessels on average request bridge openings each year.
    The test schedule will run from midnight on May 1, 2020 to midnight 
on October 15, 2020. During this test schedule, the bridge will operate 
remotely with tenders at the bridge to monitor the effectiveness of the 
remote equipment. The length of the test deviation is necessary to 
allow all seasonal residents the opportunity to comment on the 
operations of the bridge. The bridge operates several cameras, a 2-way 
public address system, and a VHF-FM Marine Radio that monitors channel 
16. The bridge owner will continue to maintain a drawtender's log and 
provide those logs at the end of the test deviation. Vessels able to 
safely pass under the bridge without an opening may do so at any time.
    The Coast Guard will also inform the users of the waterways through 
our Local and Broadcast Notices to Mariners of the change in operating 
schedule for the bridge so that vessel operators can arrange their 
transits to minimize any impact caused by the temporary deviation.
    In accordance with 33 CFR 117.35(e), the drawbridge must return to 
its regular operating schedule immediately at the end of the effective 
period of this temporary deviation. This deviation from the operating 
regulations is authorized under 33 CFR 117.35.

II. 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 
    We encourage you to submit comments through the Federal eRulemaking 
Portal at https://www.regulations.gov. If your material cannot be 
submitted using https://www.regulations.gov, contact the person in the 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document for alternate 
    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 
submissions in response to this document, see DHS's Correspondence 
System of Records notice (84 FR 48645, September 26, 2018). All public 
comments will be in our online docket at https://www.regulations.gov 
and can be viewed by following that website'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.

D.L. Cottrell,
Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Commander, Ninth Coast Guard District.
[FR Doc. 2020-06822 Filed 4-7-20; 8:45 am]