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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR Data is current as of November 25, 2014

Title 33Chapter ISubchapter JPart 117 → Subpart A


Title 33: Navigation and Navigable Waters
PART 117—DRAWBRIDGE OPERATION REGULATIONS


Subpart A—General Requirements


Contents
§117.1   Purpose.
§117.4   Definitions.
§117.5   When the drawbridge must open.
§117.7   General requirements of drawbridge owners.
§117.8   Permanent changes to drawbridge operation.
§117.9   Delaying opening of a draw.
§117.11   Unnecessary opening of the draw.
§117.15   Signals.
§117.17   Signalling for contiguous drawbridges.
§117.19   Signalling when two or more vessels are approaching a drawbridge.
§117.21   Signalling for an opened drawbridge.
§117.23   Installation of radiotelephones.
§117.24   Radiotelephone installation identification.
§117.31   Drawbridge operations for emergency vehicles and emergency vessels.
§117.33   Closure of draw for natural disasters or civil disorders.
§117.35   Temporary change to a drawbridge operating schedule.
§117.36   Closure of drawbridge for emergency repair.
§117.39   Authorized closure of drawbridge due to infrequent requests for openings.
§117.40   Advance notice for drawbridge opening.
§117.41   Maintaining drawbridges in the fully open position.
§117.42   Remotely operated and automated drawbridges.
§117.47   Clearance gauges.
§117.49   Process of violations.

§117.1   Purpose.

(a) This part prescribes the general and special drawbridge operating regulations that apply to the drawbridges across the navigable waters of the United States and its territories. The authority to regulate drawbridges across the navigable waters of the United States is vested in the Secretary of Homeland Security.

(b) Subpart A contains the general operation requirements that apply to all drawbridges.

(c) Subpart B contains specific requirements for operation of individual drawbridges. These requirements are in addition to or vary from the general requirements in Subpart A. Specific sections in subpart B that vary from a general requirement in Subpart A supersede the general requirement. All other general requirements in Subpart A, that are not at variance, apply to the drawbridges and removable span bridges listed in Subpart B.

[USCG-2001-10881, 71 FR 70307, Dec. 4, 2006]

§117.4   Definitions.

The following definitions apply to this part:

Appurtenance means an attachment or accessory extending beyond the hull or superstructure that is not an integral part of the vessel and is not needed for a vessel's piloting, propelling, controlling, or collision avoidance capabilities.

Automated drawbridge means a drawbridge that is operated by an automated mechanism, not a drawtender. An automated drawbridge is normally kept in the open to navigation position and closes when the mechanism is activated.

Deviation means a District Commander's action authorizing a drawbridge owner to temporarily not comply with the drawbridge opening requirements in this part.

Drawbridge means a bridge with an operational span that is intended to be opened for the passage of waterway traffic.

Drawspan means the operational span of a drawbridge.

Lowerable means a non-structural vessel appurtenance that is or can be made flexible, hinged, collapsible, or telescopic so that it can be mechanically or manually lowered.

Nonstructural means that the item is not rigidly fixed to the vessel and can be relocated or altered.

Not essential to navigation means that a nonstructural vessel appurtenance, when in the lowered position, would not adversely affect the vessel's piloting, propulsion, control, or collision-avoidance capabilities.

Public vessel means a vessel that is owned and operated by the United States Government and is not engaged in commercial service, as defined in 46 U.S.C. 2101.

Remotely operated drawbridge means a drawbridge that is operated by remote control from a location away from the drawbridge.

Removable span bridge means a bridge that requires the complete removal of a span by means other than machinery installed on the bridge to open the bridge to navigation.

Untended means that there is no drawtender at the drawbridge.

[USCG-2001-10881, 71 FR 70307, Dec. 4, 2006]

§117.5   When the drawbridge must open.

Except as otherwise authorized or required by this part, drawbridges must open promptly and fully for the passage of vessels when a request or signal to open is given in accordance with this subpart.

[USCG-2001-10881, 71 FR 70308, Dec. 4, 2006]

§117.7   General requirements of drawbridge owners.

Except for drawbridges that have been authorized, before January 3, 2007, to remain closed to navigation or as otherwise specified in subpart B, drawbridge owners must:

(a) Provide the necessary drawtender(s) for the safe and prompt opening of the drawbridge.

(b) Maintain the working machinery of the drawbridge in good operating condition.

(c) Cycle the drawspan(s) periodically to ensure operation of the drawbridge.

(d) Ensure that the drawbridge operates in accordance with the requirements of this part.

(e) Any drawbridge allowed to remain closed to navigation prior to January 3, 2007, when necessary, must be returned to operable condition within the designated time set forth by the District Commander and will become subject to the requirements of this part.

[USCG-2001-10881, 71 FR 70308, Dec. 4, 2006]

§117.8   Permanent changes to drawbridge operation.

(a) Anyone may submit a written request to the District Commander for a permanent change to a drawbridge operating requirement. The request must include documentation supporting or justifying the requested change.

(b) If after evaluating the request, the District Commander determines that the requested change is not needed, he or she will respond to the request in writing and provide the reasons for denial of the requested change.

(c) If the District Commander decides that a change may be needed, he or she will begin a rulemaking to implement the change.

[USCG-2001-10881, 71 FR 70308, Dec. 4, 2006]

§117.9   Delaying opening of a draw.

No person shall unreasonably delay the opening of a draw after the signals required by §117.15 have been given.

Note: Trains are usually controlled by the block method. That is, the track is divided into blocks or segments of a mile or more in length. When a train is in a block with a drawbridge, the draw may not be able to open until the train has passed out of the block and the yardmaster or other manager has “unlocked” the drawbridge controls. The maximum time permitted for delay is defined in Subpart B for each affected bridge. Land and water traffic should pass over or through the draw as soon as possible in order to prevent unnecessary delays in the opening and closure of the draw.

§117.11   Unnecessary opening of the draw.

No vessel owner or operator shall—

(a) Signal a drawbridge to open if the vertical clearance is sufficient to allow the vessel, after all lowerable nonstructural vessel appurtenances that are not essential to navigation have been lowered, to safely pass under the drawbridge in the closed position; or

(b) Signal a drawbridge to open for any purpose other than to pass through the drawbridge opening.

[CGD 91-059, 59 FR 16563, Apr. 7, 1994]

§117.15   Signals.

(a) General. (1) The operator of each vessel requesting a drawbridge to open shall signal the drawtender and the drawtender shall acknowledge that signal. The signal shall be repeated until acknowledged in some manner by the drawtender before proceeding.

(2) The signals used to request the opening of the draw and to acknowledge that request shall be sound signals, visual signals, or radiotelephone communications described in this subpart.

(3) Any of the means of signaling described in this subpart sufficient to alert the party being signaled may be used.

(b) Sound signals. (1) Sound signals shall be made by whistle, horn, megaphone, hailer, or other device capable of producing the described signals loud enough to be heard by the drawtender.

(2) As used in this section, “prolonged blast” means a blast of four to six seconds duration and “short blast” means a blast of approximately one second duration.

(3) The sound signal to request the opening of a draw is one prolonged blast followed by one short blast sounded not more than three seconds after the prolonged blast. For vessels required to be passed through a draw during a scheduled closure period, the sound signal to request the opening of the draw during that period is five short blasts sounded in rapid succession.

(4) When the draw can be opened immediately, the sound signal to acknowledge a request to open the draw is one prolonged blast followed by one short blast sounded not more than 30 seconds after the requesting signal.

(5) When the draw cannot be opened immediately, or is open and shall be closed promptly, the sound signal to acknowledge a request to open the draw is five short blasts sounded in rapid succession not more than 30 seconds after the vessel's opening signal. The signal shall be repeated until acknowledged in some manner by the requesting vessel.

(c) Visual signals. (1) The visual signal to request the opening of a draw is—

(i) A white flag raised and lowered vertically; or

(ii) A white, amber, or green light raised and lowered vertically.

(2) When the draw can be opened immediately, the visual signal to acknowledge a request to open the draw, given not more than 30 seconds after the vessel's opening signal, is—

(i) A white flag raised and lowered vertically;

(ii) A white, amber, or green light raised and lowered vertically; or

(iii) A fixed or flashing white, amber, or green light or lights.

(3) When the draw cannot be opened immediately, or is open and must be closed promptly, the visual signal to acknowledge a request to open the draw is—

(i) A red flag or red light swung back and forth horizontally in full sight of the vessel given not more than 30 seconds after the vessel's opening signal; or

(ii) A fixed or flashing red light or lights given not more than 30 seconds after the vessel's opening signal.

(4) The acknowledging signal when the draw cannot open immediately or is open and must be closed promptly shall be repeated until acknowledged in some manner by the requesting vessel.

(d) Radio telephone communications. (1) Radiotelephones may be used to communicate the same information provided by sound and visual signals.

(2) The vessel and the drawtender shall monitor the frequency used until the vessel has cleared the draw.

(3) When radiotelephone contact cannot be initiated or maintained, sound or visual signals under this section shall be used.

[CGD 82-025, 49 FR 17452, Apr. 24, 1984, as amended by CGD 82-025, 50 FR 11366, Mar. 21, 1985; CGD 84-022, 51 FR 16308, May 2, 1986; CGD 96-026, 61 FR 33664, June 28, 1996; USCG-2001-10881, 71 FR 70308, Dec. 4, 2006]

§117.17   Signalling for contiguous drawbridges.

When a vessel must past two or more drawbridges close together, the opening signal is given for the first bridge. After acknowledgment from the first bridge that it will promptly open, the opening signal is given for the second bridge, and so on until all bridges that the vessel must pass have been given the opening signal and have acknowledged that they will open promptly.

§117.19   Signalling when two or more vessels are approaching a drawbridge.

When two or more vessels are approaching the same drawbridge at the same time, or nearly the same, time, whether from the same or opposite directions, each vessel shall signal independently for the opening of the draw and the drawtender shall reply in turn to the signal of each vessel. The drawtender need not reply to signals by vessels accumulated at the bridge for passage during a scheduled open period.

§117.21   Signalling for an opened drawbridge.

When a vessel approaches a drawbridge with the draw in the open position, the vessel shall give the opening signal. If no acknowledgment is received within 30 seconds, the vessel may proceed, with caution, through the open draw.

§117.23   Installation of radiotelephones.

(a) When the District Commander deems it necessary for reasons of safety of navigation, the District Commander may require the installation and operation or a radiotelephone on or near a drawbridge.

(b) The District Commander gives written notice of the proposed requirement to the bridge owner.

(c) All comments the owner wishes to submit shall be submitted to the District Commander within 30 days of receipt of the notice under paragraph (b) of this section.

(d) If, upon consideration of the comments received, the District Commander determines that a radiotelephone is necessary, the District Commander notifies the bridge owner that a radiotelephone shall be installed and gives a reasonable time, not to exceed six months, to install the radiotelephone and commence operation.

§117.24   Radiotelephone installation identification.

(a) The Coast Guard authorizes, and the District Commander may require the installation of a sign on drawbridges, on the upstream and downstream sides, indicating that the bridge is equipped with and operates a VHF radiotelephone in accordance with §117.23.

(b) The sign shall give notice of the radiotelephone and its calling and working channels—

(1) In plain language; or

(2) By a sign consisting of the outline of a telephone handset with the long axis placed horizontally and a vertical three-legged lightning slash superimposed over the handset. The slash shall be as long vertically as the handset is wide horizontally and normally not less than 27 inches and no more than 36 inches long. The preferred calling channel should be shown in the lower left quadrant and the preferred working channel should be shown in the lower right quadrant.

Note: It is recommended that the radiotelephone sign be similar in design to the Service Signs established by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in U.S. Road Symbol Signs using Reflective Blue and Reflective White colors. Color and design information is available from the District Commander of the Coast Guard District in which the bridge is located.

[CGD 84-022, 51 FR 16308, May 2, 1986]

§117.31   Drawbridge operations for emergency vehicles and emergency vessels.

(a) Upon receiving notification that an emergency vehicle is responding to an emergency situation, a drawtender must make all reasonable efforts to have the drawspan closed at the time the emergency vehicle arrives.

(b) When a drawtender receives notice, or a proper signal as provided in §117.15 of this part, the drawtender shall take all reasonable measures to have the draw opened, regardless of the operating schedule of the draw, for passage of the following, provided this opening does not conflict with local emergency management procedures which have been approved by the cognizant Coast Guard Captain of the Port:

(1) Federal, State, and local government vessels used for public safety;

(2) Vessels in distress where a delay would endanger life or property;

(3) Commercial vessels engaged in rescue or emergency salvage operations; and

(4) Vessels seeking shelter from severe weather.

[CGD 91-016, 58 FR 20, Jan. 4, 1993, as amended at 71 FR 70308, Dec. 4, 2006]

§117.33   Closure of draw for natural disasters or civil disorders.

Drawbridges need not open for the passage of vessels during periods of natural disasters or civil disorders declared by the appropriate authorities unless otherwise provided for in Subpart B or directed to do so by the District Commander.

§117.35   Temporary change to a drawbridge operating schedule.

(a) For any temporary change to the operating schedule of a drawbridge, lasting less than or equal to 180 days, the District Commander may issue a deviation approval letter to the bridge owner and publish a “Notice of temporary deviation from regulations” in the Federal Register.

(b) If the time period for a temporary change to the operating schedule of a drawbridge will be greater then 180 days, the District Commander will follow appropriate rulemaking procedures and publish a temporary rule in the Federal Register prior to the start of the action.

(c) Request for change. (1) To temporarily change the drawbridge-operating requirements the bridge owner must submit a written request to the District Commander for approval of the change.

(2) The request must describe the reason for the deviation and the dates and times scheduled for the start and end of the change.

(3) Requests should be submitted as early as possible, preferably 90 days before the start of the action. District Commanders have discretion to accept requests submitted less than 90 days before a needed change if those requests can be processed before the date of the needed change.

(d) Determination. The District Commander's determination to allow the schedule change is normally forwarded to the bridge owner within ten working days after receipt of the request. If the request is denied, the reasons for the denial will be set out in the District Commander's decision letter.

(e) The drawbridge must return to its regular operating schedule immediately at the end of the designated time period.

(f) If the authorized deviation period for an event is broken into separate time periods on the same day or on consecutive days, the drawbridge must provide openings for navigation between authorized schedule changes.

(g) The District Commander will also announce the change to the operating schedule in the Local Notice to Mariners and other appropriate local media.

[USCG-2001-10881, 71 FR 70308, Dec. 4, 2006, as amended by USCG-2013-0397, 78 FR 39174, July 1, 2013; USCG-2014-0410, 79 FR 38433, July 7, 2014]

§117.36   Closure of drawbridge for emergency repair.

(a) When a drawbridge unexpectedly becomes inoperable, or should be immediately rendered inoperable because of mechanical failure or structural defect, the drawbridge owner must notify the District Commander of the closure without delay and give the reason for the emergency closure of the drawbridge and an estimated time when the drawbridge will be returned to operating condition.

(b) The District Commander will notify mariners about the drawbridge status through Broadcast Notices to Mariners, Local Notice to Mariners and any other appropriate local media.

(c) Repair work under this section must be performed with all due speed in order to return the drawbridge to operation as soon as possible.

[USCG-2001-10881, 71 FR 70308, Dec. 4, 2006]

§117.39   Authorized closure of drawbridge due to infrequent requests for openings.

(a) When there have been no requests for drawbridge openings for at least two years, a bridge owner may request in writing that the District Commander authorize the drawbridge to remain closed to navigation and to be untended.

(b) The District Commander may:

(1) Authorize the closure of the drawbridge;

(2) Set out any conditions in addition to the requirement in paragraph (d): and

(3) Revoke an authorization and order the drawbridge returned to operation when necessary.

(c) All drawbridges authorized to remain closed to navigation, under this section, must be maintained in operable condition.

(d) Authorization under this section does not:

(1) Authorize physical changes to the drawbridge structure, or

(2) Authorize removal of the operating machinery.

(e) Drawbridges authorized under this section to remain closed to navigation and to be untended are identified in subpart B of this part.

[USCG-2001-10881, 71 FR 70308, Dec. 4, 2006]

§117.40   Advance notice for drawbridge opening.

(a) Upon written request by the owner of a drawbridge, the District Commander may authorize a drawbridge to operate under an advance notice for opening. The drawbridge tender, after receiving the advance notice, must open the drawbridge at the requested time and allow for a reasonable delay in arrival of the vessel giving the advance notice.

(b) If the request is approved, a description of the advanced notice for the drawbridge will be added to subpart B of this part.

[USCG-2001-10881, 71 FR 70309, Dec. 4, 2006]

§117.41   Maintaining drawbridges in the fully open position.

(a) Drawbridges permanently maintained in the fully open to navigation position may discontinue drawtender service as long as the drawbridge remains fully open to navigation. The drawbridge must remain in the fully open position until drawtender service is restored.

(b) If a drawbridge is normally maintained in the fully open to navigation position, but closes to navigation for the passage of pedestrian, vehicular, rail, or other traffic, the drawbridge must be tended unless:

(1) Special operating requirements are established in subpart B of this part for that drawbridge; or

(2) The drawbridge is remotely operated or automated.

[USCG-2001-10881, 71 FR 70309, Dec. 4, 2006]

§117.42   Remotely operated and automated drawbridges.

(a) Upon written request by the owner of a drawbridge, the District Commander may authorize a drawbridge to operate under an automated system or from a remote location.

(b) If the request is approved, a description of the full operation of the remotely operated or automated drawbridge will be added to subpart B of this part.

[USCG-2001-10881, 71 FR 70309, Dec. 4, 2006]

§117.47   Clearance gauges.

(a) Clearance gauges are required for drawbridges across navigable waters of the United States discharging into the Atlantic Ocean south of Delaware Bay (including the Lewes and Rehoboth Canal, DE) or into the Gulf of Mexico (including coastal waterways contiguous thereto and tributaries to such waterways and the Lower Atchafalaya River, LA), except the Mississippi River and its tributaries and outlets,

(b) Except for provisions in this part which specify otherwise for particular drawbridges, clearance gauges shall be designed, installed, and maintained according to the provisions of §118.160 of this chapter.

Note: Clearance gauge requirements, if any, for drawbridges other than those referred to in this section are listed in Subpart B under the appropriate bridge.

[CGD 82-025, 49 FR 17452, Apr. 24, 1984, as amended by CGD 84-022, 51 FR 16308, May 2, 1986; CGD 96-026, 61 FR 33664, June 28, 1996]

§117.49   Process of violations.

(a) Complaints of alleged violations under this part are submitted to the District Commander of the Coast Guard District in which the drawbridge is located.

(b) Penalties for violations under this part are assessed and collected under Subpart 1.07 of Part 1 of this chapter.



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