East Coast Alerts

By Mel Neale

North Carolina Inlets

The trend reported below is not merely of concern to North Carolina. It is of concern to communities along both coasts.

As promised, the Coast Guard has reported that it has removed and temporarily discontinued all the aids to navigation marking the small coastal ocean inlets at New River Inlet and Lockwoods Folly Inlet in North Carolina. Keep in mind that these are NOT part of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway and will not affect ordinary traffic using that part of the ICW. However, local commercial and pleasure boaters will be affected in that they will either not be able to use the inlets, or will do so at their own risk. Some commercial captains have reported that their insurance will not cover them when carrying passengers for hire if they use these inlets, and must either give up business or travel much longer distances to large inlets such as the one at the Cape Fear River. Dredging by the USACE of these inlets will occur on a limited basis sometime in FY 2005 (See East Coast Alerts dated January 27, 2005 and February 10, 2005).

St Augustine, Florida: Bridge of Lions, Mile 777.9
The long awaited repair of this historically significant bridge has begun. The first stage will be construction of a parallel temporary span for vehicular use while repairs to the old bridge take place. A crane and deck barges will begin working around the bridge, but will not now obstruct the channel. Mariners are asked to transit the area with minimum wake. It remains to be seen how this phase of construction will affect the large anchorage north of the bridge.

Okeechobee Waterway, Florida, Ortona Lock, Mile 93.5
As of February 9, 2005 until further notice, the Ortona Lock at Mile 93.5 on the Okeechobee Waterway will open for vessel traffic only on the even hours (ex: 0600-0700 hours, 0800 to 0900 hours, etc) while repairs are being made to the spillway gates. During the odd hours (ex: 0700-0800 hours, 0900-1000 hours, etc) the lock will be used to pass regulated water discharges and will be closed to navigation. Vessels are advised to use caution when operating in and around the lock and spillway due to turbulent waters and/or construction vessels. Contact USACE, Clewiston, FL, 863 983 8101 for further information.

Ft. Lauderdale/Broward County Florida Bridges
The temporary bridge opening schedule for Broward County Bridges which we published in the November 21, 2004 East Coast Alert and has been in effect for almost three months will end on February 28, 2005. We will update you when the Coast Guard determines a final schedule, based on this test and public comments. The process usually takes at least six months.

On March 1, 2005 the former schedule, which is published in various guidebooks such as The Waterway Guide, Southern Edition (updated yearly, York Associates, LLC, www.waterwayguide.com), is supposed to be again resumed, at least temporarily.

Copyright 2004-2005 Tom Neale