Drawbridge operations: Virginia, 17065-17068 [E7-6146]

Agencies

[Federal Register: April 6, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 66)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 17065-17068]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr06ap07-17]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

Coast Guard

33 CFR Part 117

[CGD05-07-021]
RIN 1625-AA09

 
Drawbridge Operation Regulations; Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway 
(AIWW), Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal, Chesapeake, VA

AGENCY: Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking.

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SUMMARY: The Coast Guard proposes to change the regulations that govern 
the operation of the Centerville Turnpike (SR 170) Bridge, at AIWW mile 
15.2, across the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal in Chesapeake, 
Virginia. The proposal would allow the bridge to open on signal every 
hour on the half hour from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., year round. The 
reason for this change would be to improve the schedule for both 
roadway and waterway users.

DATES: Comments and related material must reach the Coast Guard on or 
before May 21, 2007.

ADDRESSES: You may mail comments and related material to Commander 
(dpb), Fifth Coast Guard District, Federal Building, 1st Floor, 431 
Crawford Street, Portsmouth, VA 23704-5004. The Fifth Coast Guard 
District maintains the public docket for this rulemaking. Comments and 
material received from the public, as well as documents indicated in 
this preamble as being available in the docket, will become part of 
this docket and will be available for inspection or copying at 
Commander (dpb), Fifth Coast Guard District between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., 
Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Bill H. Brazier, Bridge Management 
Specialist, Fifth Coast Guard District, at (757) 398-6422.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Request for Comments

    We encourage you to participate in this rulemaking by submitting 
comments and related material. If you do so, please include your name 
and address, identify the docket number for this rulemaking CGD05-07-
021, indicate the specific section of this document to which each 
comment applies, and give the reason for each comment. Please submit 
all comments and related material in an unbound format, no larger than 
8\1/2\ by 11 inches, suitable for copying. If you would like a return 
receipt, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard or envelope. 
We will consider all submittals received during the comment period. We 
may change this proposed rule in view of them.

Public Meeting

    We do not now plan to hold a public meeting. But you may submit a 
request for a meeting by writing to Commander (dpb), Fifth Coast Guard 
District at the address under ADDRESSES explaining why one would be 
beneficial. If we determine that one would aid this rulemaking, we will 
hold one at a time and place announced by a later notice in the Federal 
Register.

Background and Purpose

    The Centerville Turnpike (SR 170) Bridge, a swing-type drawbridge, 
has a vertical clearance in the closed position to vessels of four 
feet, above mean high water.
    The City of Chesapeake owns and operates this swing-type bridge. 
Current regulation requires the bridge to open on signal at any time 
for commercial vessels carrying liquefied flammable gas or other 
hazardous materials. In addition, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday 
through Friday, except Federal holidays, the draw need only be opened 
on the hour and half hour. From 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and from 4 p.m. 
to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays, the draw 
need not open for the passage of recreational vessels and commercial 
vessels carrying non-hazardous material that do not provide a 2-hour 
advance notice.
    The City of Chesapeake has requested a change to the existing 
regulations for the Centerville Turnpike (SR 170) Bridge in an effort 
to improve the schedule for both roadway and waterway users and to 
improve the travel for mariners to arrive at the Great Bridge (S168) 
Bridge across the Albemarle and Chesapeake, at AIWW mile 12.0 at 
Chesapeake, (approximately three miles away) in time to pass through 
the drawbridge during its opening schedule. The Great Bridge (S168) 
Bridge provides vessel openings on the hour between 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., 
seven days a week, year round.
    This proposal would continue to open on signal at any time for 
commercial vessels carrying liquefied flammable gas or other hazardous 
materials, eliminates the 2-hour advance notice requirement for 
commercial vessels carrying non-hazardous material and the rush hour 
restrictions to mariners from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 
6 p.m.,

[[Page 17066]]

Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
    The Coast Guard reviewed the bridge logs provided by the City of 
Chesapeake which illustrated a small decrease in the numbers of vessels 
passing through the bridge during the spring, summer, and fall, 
primarily for ``snowbirds''. Owners of these transitory recreational 
vessels are either traveling north to south towards a warmer climate in 
the fall or south to north towards a cooler climate in the spring and 
this can result in frequent bridge openings due to their numbers. 
During the spring and fall months, the flow of recreational vessels is 
constant.
    There were approximately 9,068 and 10,415 vessel passages occurring 
in 2006 and 2005, respectively, over a seven-month period (April, May, 
June, July, August, October and November) according to records 
furnished by the City of Chesapeake. (See Table A)

                                                     Table A
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   JAN       FEB       MAR       APR       MAY      JUN      JUL      AUG      SEPT      OCT      NOV      DEC
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                                            BRIDGE OPENINGS FOR 2006
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    210       151       280       510       428       627      659      514       418      521      451      255
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                                             BOAT PASSAGES FOR 2006
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    249       177       358       954      1213      1630     1500      954       743     1601     1216      361
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                                            BRIDGE OPENINGS FOR 2005
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    189       192       282       455       719       631      666      579       452      399      495      305
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                                             BOAT PASSAGES FOR 2005
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    224       216       351       897      2234      1724     1495     1091       818     1646     1328      458
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Due to the large number of vessels under the current schedule, 
mariners cannot arrive on time for the Great Bridge (S168) Bridge 
opening before the morning and evening rush hour periods. The waterway 
at this location is narrow and offers no anchorage area, and this 
condition creates a hazardous situation for vessels waiting and 
maneuvering for long periods to transit through the draw span. Also, a 
well-known marina along the AIWW was contacted by the City of 
Chesapeake during this evaluation process in order to help seek 
comments from waterway users frequenting the AIWW. While it was an 
unofficial survey, the marina relayed that the overwhelming majority of 
its contacts believe the proposed schedule would work much better than 
the current operating regulations for the Centerville Turnpike (SR 170) 
Bridge.
    Based on the above information, we have proposed to change the 
regulations that govern the Centerville Turnpike (SR 170) Bridge to 
open on signal at any time for commercial vessels carrying liquefied 
flammable gas or other hazardous materials; and every hour on the half 
hour between 6:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., year-round. At all other times, 
the draw shall open on demand. The proposal will enable transient craft 
to reduce delays in navigating the AIWW, while also helping to ease 
vehicular traffic congestion.

Discussion of Proposed Rule

    The Coast Guard proposes to amend 33 CFR 117.997(j), by revising 
the following paragraphs:
    Paragraph (j)(2) would modify to read ``Year-round from 6:30 a.m. 
to 6:30 p.m., the draw need only be opened every hour on the half 
hour''. Paragraph (j)(3) would modify to read ``If any vessel is 
approaching the bridge and cannot reach the draw exactly on the half 
hour, the draw tender may delay the opening ten minutes past the half 
hour for the passage of the approaching vessel and any other vessels 
that are waiting to pass''. Paragraph (j)(4) would read ``Shall open on 
signal at all other times''.

Regulatory Evaluation

    This proposed rule is not a ``significant regulatory action'' under 
section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, 
and does not require an assessment of potential costs and benefits 
under section 6(a)(3) of that Order. The Office of Management and 
Budget has not reviewed it under that Order. It is not ``significant'' 
under the regulatory policies and procedures of the Department of 
Homeland Security (DHS).
    We expect the economic impact of this proposed rule to be so 
minimal that a full Regulatory Evaluation is unnecessary. We reached 
this conclusion based on the fact that the proposed changes have only a 
minimal impact on maritime traffic transiting the bridge. Mariners can 
plan their trips in accordance with the scheduled bridge openings, to 
minimize delays.

Small Entities

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612), we have 
considered whether this proposed rule would have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities. The term ``small 
entities'' comprises small businesses, not-for-profit organizations 
that are independently owned and operated and are not dominant in their 
fields, and governmental jurisdictions with populations of less than 
50,000.
    The Coast Guard certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this proposed 
rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial 
number of small entities.
    This proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on 
a substantial number of small entities because the rule only adds 
minimal restrictions to the movement of navigation, and mariners who 
plan their transits in accordance with the scheduled bridge openings 
can minimize delay.
    If you think that your business, organization, or governmental 
jurisdiction qualifies as a small entity and that this rule would have 
a significant economic impact on it, please submit a comment (see 
ADDRESSES) explaining why you think it

[[Page 17067]]

qualifies and how and to what degree this rule would economically 
affect it.

Assistance for Small Entities

    Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement 
Fairness Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-121), we want to assist small 
entities in understanding this proposed rule so that they can better 
evaluate its effects on them and participate in the rulemaking. If the 
rule would affect your small business, organization, or governmental 
jurisdiction and you have questions concerning its provisions or 
options for compliance, please contact Waverly W. Gregory, Jr., Bridge 
Administrator, Fifth Coast Guard District, (757) 398-6222. The Coast 
Guard will not retaliate against small entities that question or 
complain about this rule or any policy or action of the Coast Guard.

Collection of Information

    This proposed rule would call for no new collection of information 
under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520).

Federalism

    A rule has implications for federalism under Executive Order 13132, 
Federalism, if it has a substantial direct effect on State or local 
governments and would either preempt State law or impose a substantial 
direct cost of compliance on them. We have analyzed this proposed rule 
under that Order and have determined that it does not have implications 
for federalism.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1531-1538) 
requires Federal agencies to assess the effects of their discretionary 
regulatory actions. In particular, the Act addresses actions that may 
result in the expenditure by a State, local, or tribal government, in 
the aggregate, or by the private sector of $100,000,000 or more in any 
one year. Though this proposed rule will not result in such 
expenditure, we do discuss the effects of this rule elsewhere in this 
preamble.

Taking of Private Property

    This proposed rule would not affect a taking of private property or 
otherwise have taking implications under Executive Order 12630, 
Governmental Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected 
Property Rights.

Civil Justice Reform

    This proposed rule meets applicable standards in sections 3(a) and 
3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform, to minimize 
litigation, eliminate ambiguity, and reduce burden.

Protection of Children

    We have analyzed this proposed rule under Executive Order 13045, 
Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety 
Risks. This rule is not an economically significant rule and would not 
create an environmental risk to health or risk to safety that might 
disproportionately affect children.

Indian Tribal Governments

    This proposed rule does not have tribal implications under 
Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal 
Governments, because it would not have a substantial direct effect on 
one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal 
Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and 
responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes.

Energy Effects

    We have analyzed this proposed rule under Executive Order 13211, 
Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, 
Distribution, or Use. We have determined that it is not a ``significant 
energy action'' under that order because it is not a ``significant 
regulatory action'' under Executive Order 12866 and is not likely to 
have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use 
of energy. The Administrator of the Office of Information and 
Regulatory Affairs has not designated it as a significant energy 
action. Therefore, it does not require a Statement of Energy Effects 
under Executive Order 13211.

Technical Standards

    The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) (15 
U.S.C. 272 note) directs agencies to use voluntary consensus standards 
in their regulatory activities unless the agency provides Congress, 
through the Office of Management and Budget, with an explanation of why 
using these standards would be inconsistent with applicable law or 
otherwise impractical. Voluntary consensus standards are technical 
standards (e.g., specifications of materials, performance, design, or 
operation; test methods; sampling procedures; and related management 
systems practices) that are developed or adopted by voluntary consensus 
standards bodies.
    This proposed rule does not use technical standards. Therefore, we 
did not consider the use of voluntary consensus standards.

Environment

    We have analyzed this proposed rule under Commandant Instruction 
M16475.lD, and Department of Homeland Security Management Directive 
5100.1, which guides the Coast Guard in complying with the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and 
have made a preliminary determination that there are no factors in this 
case that would limit the use of a categorical exclusion under section 
2.B.2 of the Instruction. Therefore, we believe that this rule should 
be categorically excluded, under figure 2-1, paragraph (32)(e), of the 
Instruction, from further environmental documentation. Under figure 2-
1, paragraph (32)(e), of the Instruction, an ``Environmental Analysis 
Check List'' and a ``Categorical Exclusion Determination'' are not 
required for this rule. However, comments on this section will be 
considered before the final rule.

List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 117

    Bridges.

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard proposes 
to amend 33 CFR part 117 as follows:

PART 117--DRAWBRIDGE OPERATION REGULATIONS

    1. The authority citation for part 117 continues to read as 
follows:

     Authority: 33 U.S.C. 499; Department of Homeland Security 
Delegation No. 0170.1; 33 CFR 1.05-1(g); section 117.255 also issued 
under the authority of Pub. L. 102-587, 106 Stat. 5039.
    2. In Sec.  117.997, remove paragraph (j)(5) and revise paragraphs 
(j)(2), (j)(3) and (j)(4) to read as follows:


Sec.  117.997  Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, South Branch of the 
Elizabeth River to the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal.

* * * * *
    (j) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (2) Year-round from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., the draw need only be 
opened every hour on the half hour;
    (3) If any vessel is approaching the bridge and cannot reach the 
draw exactly on the half hour, the draw tender may delay the opening 
ten minutes past the half hour for the passage of the approaching 
vessel and any other vessels that are waiting to pass;
    (4) Shall open on signal at all other times.


[[Page 17068]]


    Dated: March 21, 2007.
L.L. Hereth,
Rear Admiral, United States Coast Guard Commander, Fifth Coast Guard 
District.
[FR Doc. E7-6146 Filed 4-5-07; 8:45 am]

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