East Coast Alerts

By Mel Neale

New Ft Lauderdale/Broward County Bridge Schedule Trial
The Coast Guard has announced a test of a new bridge opening schedule for Ft Lauderdale/Broward County bridges. All bridges will open only twice an hour during this period, which begins on Dec. 1, 2004 and ends on Feb. 28, 2005. After the 90 day test the schedule will revert to the one in effect previously. There will then be a period of comments from the public and a final schedule will be announced later in the year, 2005.

The new opening schedule is as follows:
Mile 1055.0: NE 14th Street Bridge: 15 and 45 minutes after the hour
Mile 1056.3: Atlantic Blvd. Bridge: hour and half hour
Mile 1059.0: Commercial Blvd. Bridge: hour and half hour
Mile 1060.5: Oakland Park Blvd. Bridge: 15 and 45 minutes after the hour
Mile 1062.6: Sunrise Blvd. Bridge: hour and half hour
Mile 1064.0: Las Olas Blvd. Bridge: 15 and 45 minutes after the hour
Mile 1065.9: SE 17th Street Causeway Bridge: hour and half hour
Mile 1069.4: Dania Beach Blvd. Bridge: hour and half hour
Mile 1070.5: Sheridan Street Bridge: 15 and 45 minutes after the hour
Mile 1072.2: Hollywood Blvd. Bridge: hour and half hour
Mile 1074.0: Hallandale Beach Blvd. Bridge: 15 and 45 minutes after

North Carolina ICW Dredging Updates:
Lockwood’s Folly: US Army Corps of Engineers dredging of Lockwood’s Folly Inlet Crossing area of the ICW in NC is complete. Boats passing through the area report depths between 10 and 12 ft at low tide. The Corps reports 12 ft to be the controlling depth. The channel is now straight without doglegs.
Snows Cut: Although the USCG Local Notices to Mariners reported that Snows Cut was being dredged from Nov. 5 through Dec 10, there was no dredging taking place when we passed through on Nov.15. There was, however, dredging going on in Carolina Beach Inlet Crossing. The person we spoke to on the dredge told us that they would “have this mess cleared out of here in about two weeks.” Snows Cut was still marked with temporary floating aids to mark the “S” curve through the shoal at its entrance from the Cape Fear River and across from the tall dune.
Carolina Beach Inlet Crossing: Dredging of this area is now taking place and is expected to be finished around the end of November, 2004.

Rock Pile, Mile 350.2, Markers “G 15A” and “R 16”:
Both above and below this point there is a new sign warning that mariners should proceed with caution, that barges may partially block the channel. This is the narrowest part of the whole AIWW, and it is surrounded on both sides with rock ledges (It is, after all, called the “Rock Pile”!). Exercise extreme care here, especially if tugs and barges are maneuvering or loading from the quarry pier that abuts the edge of the channel. It looks like there has already been an accident here, as marker “G 15A” has been knocked over on its side, and a temporary floater has been placed channelward of the wrecked marker (even further restricting the width of the channel). There was a tug with two barges departing from this pier when we passed on Nov. 16 and we heard another on the VHF saying that he was docking there a half hour later.

Waccamaw River:
There is a new “No Wake” sign placed on a piling on the green side of the channel close to marker “G 69”. Don’t be confused here, as this sign is a bright red triangular shape, exactly like a red dayboard.

Georgia ICW:
This is just a reminder that The USACE will receive no funds for FY 2005 (nor did it have any in 2003 or 2004) to maintain the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway between Port Royal Sound, SC (Mile 552) and Cumberland Sound GA (Mile 713). This is due to its limited commercial use. The Savannah District is supposed to monitor the conditions and publish quarterly reports, for which it received $178,000 in FY 2003, $164,000 in FY 2004, $0 for 2005. And we mariners are to use extreme caution when transiting the waterway until further notice. Thank goodness for the 7-9 ft tidal range. Check out www.sas.usace.army.mil/projects/projects/aiww.htm. Areas particularly needing frequent dredging, according to the Savannah District USACE, are Rockdedundy River, South River, Little Mud River, Buttermilk Sound, Jekyll Creek, Umbrella Cut, Dover Cut, Hells Gate, Floyd Creek.

Our observation of the Georgia ICW on our trip this fall, 2004, is that it is indeed shoal in the areas mentioned on the above website as needing regular dredging and in a few others as well. Many of these areas are now 5 ft or less at MLW. With the tidal range of 7-9 ft, these shallow areas are navigable for most pleasure vessels at mid tide or higher. The USCG has dealt with some of the worst areas by adding more channel markers.

In addition to the areas mentioned above, we found shallow water also in Cumberland Sound between markers “R 60” and “R 62” and between “R 74” and “R 78”.

Little Mud River:
We received a report that the shoal in Little Mud River is now 5 ft for a good distance between “G 193” and “R 194”, but about 8 ft from “R 194” out into the Altamaha Sound.

Lake Okeechobee:
The Moore Haven and Ortona Locks are again operating “on request” under normal operation.

Cape Canaveral Lock Closure:
The USACE Jacksonville District advises that the Canaveral Lock located along the channel connecting the Atlantic Ocean to the Banana River south of Cape Kennedy will be closed for maintenance and inspection from October 17, 2004 through December 9, 2004 and again from January 3, 2005 through February 22, 2005. It will be open for navigation between December 10, 2004 and January 2, 2005.


Copyright 2004-2005 Tom Neale