Coast Guard to host public meetings for navigation needs assessments in Florida

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MIAMI – The Coast Guard will host three public meetings Nov. 12-14 to collect oral and written comments, specifically regarding current navigation through three existing drawbridges:  one crossing New River in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; one crossing the Loxahatchee River in Jupiter, Florida; and one crossing the St. Lucie River in Stuart, Florida.

Due to the uses and characteristics of the waterways, the current amount of rail traffic crossing the three drawbridges, and the length of time it currently takes to open and close the bridge for rail traffic to pass, the Coast Guard 7th District Bridge Administration Branch is conducting a navigational study to determine the current needs of navigation.

The Coast Guard has insufficient data to adequately assess the level of impacts to navigation. These three meetings are intended to gather public input from impacted maritime stakeholders, information necessary to determine the reasonable needs of navigation at these three waterways.

The Coast Guard’s public meetings are limited in scope to the navigational needs of mariners using these waterways. Those who wish to make comment regarding the effects of the proposed All Aboard Florida High Speed Rail project Draft Environmental Impact Statement are directed to the Federal Rail Administration.

“It is important to note that the Coast Guard has no position on the future of the All Aboard Florida High Speed Rail project,” said Barry Dragon, Coast Guard 7th District Bridge Program Director.   “The Coast Guard’s concern in this matter is limited to preserving the reasonable needs of navigation and establishing and enforcing appropriate drawbridge regulations.”

The Coast Guard is charged with the safety and security of U.S. navigable waters and contributes to marine stewardship through its authority.

“It is the Coast Guard’s role to ensure the public right of navigation is preserved while maintaining a reasonable balance between the competing needs of land and waterborne modes of transportation,” added Dragon.

The Coast Guard public meetings will be held:

New River Bridge
Wednesday, Nov. 12, 6:30 to 9 p.m.
Anne Kolb Nature Center
West Lake Park
751 Sheridan Street, Hollywood, Florida

St. Lucie River
Thursday, Nov. 13, 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
John F. Armstrong Wing Auditorium of the Blake Library
2351 S.E. Monterey Road, Stuart, Florida

Loxahatchee River
Friday, Nov. 14, 5:30 to 8 p.m.
Town of Jupiter Council Chambers
210 Military Trail, Jupiter, Florida

Comments specifically regarding current navigation through the New River, St. Lucie and Loxahatchee River drawbridges can also be sent via mail or email to the Coast Guard 7th District, Brickell Plaza Federal Building, 909 S.E. 1st Avenue, Suite 432, Miami, Florida 33131; or USCGD7DPBPublicComment@uscg.mil.

For more information about the Coast Guard Office of Bridge Programs, please visit http://ift.tt/1oGmiq6

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