East Coast Alerts

By Mel Neale

Bridge of Lions Closure, St. Augustine FL, Mile 777.9:
            From the Bridge of Lions Rehabilitation Project Public Information Office:     
Attention Snowbirds: The scheduled closure for the week of March 23-27, 2009 has been cancelled. However, the other closures are on schedule: March 30-April 3, 2009, from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., with two consecutive openings at 1:00 and 1:30 p.m. Channel otherwise closed to all marine traffic with opening for declared emergencies and Coast Guard vessels only.
             Further closures: April 20-April 25 and April 27-May 2, 2009 (Mon-Sat), from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., with no scheduled openings, and the channel will be closed to all marine traffic, with openings for declared emergencies only.
            NOTE: I was told by the Public Information Officer for the Bridge of Lions Rehabilitation Project that it is likely that only one of the last two closures will be needed to complete the work, but that a final decision on this would not be made until about two weeks ahead of the closure period. We’ll keep you posted.

*Italicized text above and below indicates our comment or paraphrase.  Plain text is copied from the Notices to Mariners or other sources given.

General Announcements from Recent LNMs:
           NOAA’s National Ocean Service (NOS) intends to eliminate LORAN-C lattices from future editions of NOS Paper Nautical Charts and Raster Navigational Charts starting in 2009. NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey (OCS) requests that all comments about this change be sent via OCS’ inquiry page <http://ocsdata.ncd.noaa.gov/idrs/inquiry.aspx> before April 24, 2009. Any other questions may be directed to the inquiry page or by calling NOAA’s navigation inquiry hotline: 1-888-990-NOAA (6622).For further information or inquiries please contact Mr. Richard Sillcox (Chief, Update Service, Marine Chart Division) at (301) 713-1973 ext 105.
The Loran Support Unit (Rates 8090-S/5030-M and 9960-T/8970-V) will be conducting on air testing at various times from 1200Z-2000Z each day 23 March 2009 to 27 March 2009. Users should not experience any tracking errors or service interference from this test broadcast. Users will be notified of any changes to the test schedule. Loran users are encourage to report any Loran service degradation or outages that they may experience via the Navigation Information Service (NIS) by calling (703) 313-5900 or by using the NAVCEN web-site's "REPORT A LORAN PROBLEM" worksheet at www.navcen.uscg.gov . Address any inquiries to the chain Operation Control Officer of the Northeast U.S. Loarn-C Chain, (LT. David Robbio) at (703) 313-5880. Current Loran-C status is available 24 hours per day through internet address: http://www.navcen.uscg.gov.

Jamaica Bay, NY, Dredging:
            From the 1st District LNM 10: Donjon Marine Co. will be conducting maintenance dredging within the Jamaica Bay Entrance Channel through June 12, 2009. Dredging will occur 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. The Dredge Michigan and Newark Bay will be at various locations throughout the channel during this project. The Tugs Mary Alice, Atlantic Salvor, and Paul Andrew, launch boat Matthew Scott, and various Dump Scows will also be on scene. The channel will not be closed to navigation and all vessels / dredges will MOVE ON DEMAND. The dredge will be equipped with AIS and programmed to display the correct dredge size and location to AIS receivers. Dredging positions will also be reported via VHF marine band radio by known geographical boundaries (i.e. 100 yards south of Rockaway Inlet Buoy 7) if requested by the mariner. The Dredges will monitor VHF-FM channels 13 and 16. Mariners are requested to contact the dredge on channel 13 to make any necessary passing arrangements. Each vessel transiting in the vicinity of a work area where the dredge is located is required to do so at reduced wake speed. The Donjon Marine point of contact is Brian Henry at 908.413.3003.

Baltimore Area Dredging:
            The Great Lakes Dredging Clamshell Dredges GL54 and GL55 will be conducting dredging operations in the Brewerton Channel and Extension Channel from 09 March through 30 April, 2009. The scows GL231, GL232, WEEK110, WEEKS 111, WEEKS112 and WEEKS113 will transit to and from the Hart Miller Island Disposal Site by various tugs. The dredge will monitor VHF-FM Channels 10, 13 and 16 (5th District LNM 11).

Woodrow Wilson Bridge In-Water Construction Nearly Finished:
            The 5th District LNM 11 reports that construction activity at the new Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge across the Potomac River, mile 103.8, between Alexandria, Virginia and Oxon Hill, Maryland is ongoing, however, the major in-water construction, previously-scheduled channel restrictions, and mechanical demolition and removal of debris from the old bridge have been completed. Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project temporary regulatory markers have been removed, and the private aids to navigation (established to mark an auxiliary channel that is no longer in use) have been discontinued. The previously-dredged portion of the waterway intended as temporary access for construction vessels to and from the bridge work site is not maintained. Boaters operate at their own risk when operating outside the marked navigation channel. For any questions, please contact Mr. Mike Baker, Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project, at 443-615-0215. The Project's website, www.wilsonbridge.com, contains additional information. For bridge opening requests, refer to the drawbridge operation regulations described in Title 33 Code of Federal Regulations Section 117.255.

New Regulations for West Point, VA Bridge Proposed:
            Mariners are advised that the Coast Guard proposes to change the drawbridge operation regulations of the Eltham Bridge (SR 33/30), at mile 1.0, across Pamunkey River at West Point, VA. This proposal would allow the bridge to open on signal if at least four hours notice is given. This proposal would provide for the reasonable needs of navigation, due to the anticipated infrequency of requests for vessel openings of the drawbridge. Comments on this proposal should be forwarded to the above address attention (dpb) no later than April 27, 2009. A copy of Public Notice 5-1139, which describes the proposal in detail, can be obtained by writing to the address above or by calling (757) 398-6557 (From the 5th District LNM 11).

Lower Chesapeake Dredging:
            The dredge PADRE ISLAND will be conducting dredging operations in the Thimble Shoal North Auxiliary Channel east of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge from 07 March through 15 April, 2009. Pump out operations will occur at the East Ocean View Beach via a floating rubber hose running outside of the channel and lit with quick flashing yellow lights. The dredge will monitor VHF-FM Channels 13 and 16 (5th District LNM 11).

Rudee Inlet Shoaling AGAIN:
            The City of Virginia Beach survey of Rudee Inlet, dated March 6, 2009, indicates shoaling; least depth from 9.2 feet MLLW to 6.4 feet MLLW, across the channel, starting approximately 100 feet East of the North Jetty and continues eastward for approximately 200 feet (5th District LNM 11).

            The Dredge MARION will be conducting dredging operations in the Virginia Inside Passage between Virginia Inside Passage Light 248 and Virginia Inside Passage Daybeacon 263 from 08 March through 15 April, 2009. The dredge will monitor VHF-FM Channels 13 and 16 (5th District LNM 11).

Bridge Work Complete, Mile 5.8, (Norfolk Area):
       From the USCG 5th District Bridge Branch: All repairs for Subject Bridge were completed last Sunday, on March 8, 2009.  New parts were installed and the drawbridge is fully operational. No additional closures to vessels listed below are needed.
*        Virginia (Southern)
Elizabeth River, Southern Branch - AIWW -- Norfolk Southern #7 (lift) Bridge - Temporary deviation issued to facilitate structural repairs; closed-to-navigation from 0500 to 2300 each Sunday on 5&12 APR 09, and 3&10 MAY 09. 

Dredging: Ocracoke, NC:
            The Dredge LEXINGTON will be conducting dredging operations in Bigfoot Slough between Bigfoot Slough Daybeacon 9B and Bigfoot Slough Light 14BF (LLNR 29087) from 01 March through 30 March, 2009. The dredge will monitor VHF-FM Channels 13 and 16 (5th District LNM 11).

New Shoaling in Camp Lejeune Bombing Range, ICW Mile 237.5:
            Shoaling to a depth of 5 feet MLW has been reported in the vicinity of Bogue Sound New River Light 61. Mariners are advised to use caution when transiting the area. NOTE: This is not the location of the previous bad shoaling that has been dredged, but just north of it. (5th District LNM 11).

ICW Dredging, Rich Inlet Area, NC:
5th District LNM 08: The Dredge RICHMOND will be conducting dredging operations in the vicinity of Rich Inlet in Nixon Channel at the north end of Figure 8 Island from 05 February until 31 March, 2009. The dredge will monitor VHF-FM Channels 13 and 16.

Figure Eight Island Bridge Opening Schedule Change Proposed:
From the 5th District Bridge Branch:
FEB 24 2009
The Coast Guard proposes to change the drawbridge operation regulations of the Figure Eight Swing Bridge, at AIWW mile 278.1 at Scotts Hill, NC. This proposal would allow for the drawbridge to open on signal every hour on the half hour for the passage of pleasure vessels. At all times, the draw will continue to open on signal for commercial vessels. The proposed change would result in more efficient use of the bridge.

Interested parties are requested to express their views, in writing, on the proposed changes to the operating regulations. Comments will be received for the record at the office of the Commander (dpb), Fifth Coast Guard District, 431 Crawford Street, Portsmouth, Virginia 23704-5004. Written comments on this proposal must be submitted on or before April 6. 2009.

           Editorial Comment: Of course this is more efficient use of bridge because it cuts the openings in half. And residents of Figure Eight Island will be delighted in that they will have fewer waiting periods at the bridge. But for boaters it will just increase the headaches of getting through the ICW stretch between Camp Lejeune and Wrightsville Beach, NC, a distance of about 50 miles where there are no anchorages and few marina slips.
           First there is the bombing range at Camp Lejeune which gets closed down occasionally, then the Onslow Beach Bridge (slow opening on the hour and half hour), then the Surf City Bridge, opening on the hour, then the Figure Eight Island Bridge now opening on the hour and half hour, then the Wrightsville Beach Bridge opening on the hour.
           So what’s the big deal about this bridge? Here it is: The distance between the Wrightsville Beach Bridge (opens once an hour on the hour) and the Figure Eight Island Bridge is five statute miles. The channel is very narrow with few markers, strong reversing and side currents, and a very busy boat ramp just north of the Wrightsville Beach Bridge. Slower boats (sailboats and some trawlers, which are usually less maneuverable than faster smaller boats and are slowed further by adverse currents) usually cannot make the five mile distance between these bridges in 30 minutes, and would be forced to wait for nearly an hour at one bridge or another. Waiting (while moving, as boats must do when waiting, or anchoring to wait) and congestion will cause possible accidents at the bridges, especially in the vicinity of the boat ramp at Wrightsville Beach. Figure Eight is an aging bridge and often needs repairs. Why not repair it right or replace it? I guess it’s easier and cheaper to just punish boaters and cause unnecessary safety issues at another bridge.
           No one will know about these issues unless we boaters make comments during this public comment period. It doesn’t help to make noise afterwards.

Wrightsville Beach, NC, Bridge Repairs, Channel Obstructions:
From the USCG 5th District Bridge Branch: Mariners are advised that structural repairs will be conducted from February 20 until April 5, 2009 at the S.R. 74 Bridge, at AIWW mile 283.1, at Wrightsville Beach, NC.  To facilitate repairs, construction equipment (two barges, measuring 40 feet X 60 feet with crane and work platforms measuring 10 feet X 15 feet along with two work boats) will occupy the channel to perform pile replacement, sheet piling, excavation, and concrete fill.  Normal activity will be from 7 a.m. until dark, Monday through Saturday. 
There are activities which will require placement of construction equipment in the channel:

  1. After the sheet pile wall is installed, the larger 40 X 60 barge will only be placed in the channel intermittently throughout the remainder of the project and there will be no conflict with the channel on any Friday through Sunday, nor any holidays.
  2. During concrete placement at the end of the project, the larger 40 X 60 barge may be placed in the channel for one day or one night only, ranging from March 20 to April 2, 2009.

Mariners requiring the full width of the channel are requested to provide at least two hours advance notice by calling either (910) 612-8112, (336) 8102 or the bridge tender at (910) 256-2886.  Construction equipment will be moored outside the navigable channel when not utilized.  All barges will be marked with red quick flash lights on all corners adjacent to the channel and white steady burn lights on the corners furthest from the channel.  Mariners should also use extreme caution when transiting the area.

Special Regs, Cape Fear Memorial Bridge:
            Mariners are advised that inspection work will be performed at the US/17Cape Fear River Memorial Bridge, at mile 26.0, in Wilmington, NC, each day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on March 23 to March 27, 2009. To clear inspection equipment to provide draw span openings, a two-hour advance notice is needed by calling the bridge tender at (910) 251-5773 or via marine radio on channel 13 VHF. The available vertical clearance in the closed position to vessels is approximately 65 feet, above mean high water. Mariners able to pass under the closed span may do so and use exercise caution when transiting the area (5th District LNM 11).

Overhead Power Cable Clearance Charted Incorrectly:
            While this overhead clearance is more than we mere pleasure boaters would need, the concept should be noted, and everyone should be reminded to be careful around overhead power cables, and realize that they could be lower than they are supposed to be. From the 5th District LNM 11:  Mariners are advised that the overhead power cable located above the Cape Fear River at approximate position 34-08-55.87N, 077-57-05.47W, approximately 18.8 miles above the Cape Fear River entrance has an available clearance of 149 feet above Mean High Water (MHW). This is 16 feet less than the charted clearance as noted on chart 11537 and stated in the U.S. Coast Pilot 4, Atlantic Coast, Cape Henry, VA to Key West, FL (40th) Edition. Mariners are advised to use caution when transiting the area.

Ben Sawyer Bridge, Mile 462.2 Repairs:
            This bridge was severely damaged 20 years ago during Hurricane Hugo, and the swing span should have been replaced then. The USCG 7th District LNM 07 announces that the swing span of the Ben Sawyer Bridge will be replaced between March and November, 2009 and there may be slight delays in opening. These delays will be announced in MSIBs from Coast Guard Charleston.

Special Purpose Buoy off Vero Beach:
            SAIC Advanced Systems Division of Melbourne, Florida, has advised the Coast Guard that a Special Purpose Spar Buoy will be deployed (5) NM offshore of Vero Beach, Florida in approximate position 27-40.8N 080-20.4W on or about March 20, 2009 with recovery date on or about April 30, 2009. Color: Yellow, Light Characteristics: Fl Y 4s, cverall length from bottom of buoy to tip of the antenna 17’5’ (8’ sub-surface, 1.5’ freeboard) 16” diameter with 8’ omni antenna, and single point mooring with dual anchors. For further information please contact Mr. Bill Spellins at (321) 751-3273 (comm) or (321) 751-3299 (fax) (7th District LNM 11).

Florida Bridge Update: From the USCG 7th District LNM 10:           
            Hart Bridge, St. Johns River: The vertical clearance of the Hart Bridge will be reduced by 5 feet due to painting, March 2, 2009 through November, 2010. There will be a safety boat in the vicinity during the painting.
            Sisters Creek Bridge, Mile 739.2: This bridge will be under repair until April 10, 2009. Between January 12 and April 10, 2009, one half of the channel will be blocked by a barge working on fender replacement on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday of each week, between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
            Bridge of Lions, Mile 777.9:  See Above
Port Orange A1A Bridge (Mile 835.5): Vertical clearance will be reduced by 3 feet across one half of the channel due to painting. Dates: December 3, 2008-March 30, 2009.
            NASA Railroad Bridge (Mile 876.6): Due to repairs, this bridge will be closed to navigation from 7:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, except federal holidays, March 16-June 30, 2009.         
14th Street Causeway Bridge (Mile 1055.0): This bridge in Pompano Beach will be closed to navigation for four hours between April 15 and April 30, date and time to be announced.
Sunny Isles Bridge (Mile 1078):  Also known as the NE 163rd St. Bridge, will be on single leaf operation at quarter past and three quarters past the hour, Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m., except federal holidays. Dates are Oct. 15, 2008 through March 27, 2009. Double leaf openings will be available with two hours notice. On Saturdays, Sundays and federal holidays, 10:00 a.m. till 6:00 p.m., both leaves will open at quarter past and three quarters past the hour. Both leaves are available on request at all other times.
East Venetian Causeway (Not on the ICW): (across the Miami Beach Channel) This bridge will be under repairs for around 30 days, possibly starting as early as April 15, 2009 (dates to be announced). The channel will be closed and no vessels may pass, except at the following times when it will open for traffic: 7:00, 7:30 and 8:00 a.m., 12:00 noon,12:30 and 1:00 p.m. and 6:00, 6:30 and 7:00 p.m.
GIWW: Pinellas Bayway (Mile 114) and Corey Causeway (Mile 117.7): There will be a test of a deviation to the schedule of these two bridges from 7:00 a.m. March 2 through 7:00 p.m. May 8, 2009 to test a twice an hour opening schedule.

This information is not to be used for navigation. Consult the latest charts and Local Notices to Mariners and use prudent seamanship. Conditions may change.  Any person or entity that uses this information in any way, as a condition of that use, agrees to waive and does waive and also hold authors harmless from any and all claims which may arise from or be related to that use.