Coast Guard works with local officials to ensure safety of causeway

NEW ORLEANS – Coast Guard Sector New Orleans is scheduled to participate in a Mass Rescue Operation Exercise hosted by the Greater New Orleans Expressway Commission (GNOEC) at the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway here Sept. 27.

The exercise will give the Coast Guard a chance to test a newly developed written protocol, called a Quick Response Card (QRC), to be followed upon receiving calls for assistance from GNOEC.

Sector New Orleans hosted a meeting Aug. 10 with representatives from agencies responsible for safety and security on and around the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway Bridge. Coast Guard surface asset capabilities and limitations were reviewed for the benefit of Causeway officials.

The QRC, developed in cooperation with causeway officials, addresses actions for responding to vessels that have lost radio communications and vessels that are adrift. Causeway officials are expected to seek the services of commercial assistance providers to secure adrift vessels posing a threat to the causeway. This is especially important when the size of the adrift vessels exceeds Coast Guard vessel towing limitations.

“With over a half million bridges in the United States, and over 13,000 bridges in Louisiana, this type of QRC, written specifically for one bridge, is unprecedented,” said Captain Lincoln Stroh, commanding officer of Coast Guard Sector New Orleans. “It demonstrates the Sector’s commitment to reducing marine safety and security risks and providing our best response within the State of Louisiana.”

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