Coast Guard issues new deviation for Berkley Bridge opening

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – The 5th Coast Guard District commander has issued a temporary deviation from the regulation governing the operating schedule of the Berkley Bridge across the Eastern Branch of the Elizabeth River at Norfolk, Va., today.

This deviation is necessary to test another change in the drawbridge operation schedule based on comments received from the first test deviation published Oct. 9, 2009.

The temporary deviation will be in effect beginning 9 a.m., from March 10, 2010, through Sept. 3, 2010. During this time, the drawbridge will continue to open to vessels requesting passage at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 2:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except federal holidays.

“Based on comments received and the consultation between VDOT and the maritime community, the changes will benefit the community and provide a reasonable balance between maritime priority and road-based transportation,” said Waverly Gregory, bridge administrator for the 5th Coast Guard District.

The new changes will allow the bridge to open on signal at anytime for vessels carrying hazardous cargo. It will also open for vessels with a draft of 18-feet or more, provided a six hour advance notice has been given.

If the bridge is not opened during a particular scheduled opening at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., and 1 p.m., a mariner can make arrangements for a delayed opening up to 30 minutes past that scheduled opening time for that signaling mariner, except at 2:30 p.m. At 2:30 p.m., the draw tender may provide a single opening up to 20 minutes after that time. A vessel may make prior arrangements for a delayed opening by contacting the Berkley Bridge traffic control room at 757-494-2490.

Interested parties are requested to express their views, in writing, on the temporary deviation from the operating regulations. Comments will be received for the record at:

Commander (dpb)
Fifth Coast Guard District
431 Crawford St.
Portsmouth, Va., 23704

Written comments on this proposal must be submitted on or before July 1, 2010.

Copies of Dockets USCG-2010-0083 and USCG-2009-0754 published in the Federal Register on March 3, 2010, are available to be viewed by the public on their website.

For further questions on this proposed rule or copies of Public Notice 5-1176 and 5-1177 which describes the deviation schedule in detail, call Waverly Gregory, bridge administrator for the Fifth Coast Guard District, at (757) 398-6222 or e-mail at Waverly.W.Gregory@uscg.mil.

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