U.S. Coast Guard responds to Martin County's request for bridge tender at St. Lucie River Bridge

Posted on March 24, 2016

In correspondence received last week, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) responded to Martin County's concerns regarding the antiquated Florida East Coast (FEC) Railway Bridge over the St. Lucie River and the potential impacts to navigation that may be created as a result of the proposed All Aboard Florida (AAF) passenger rail project. The County provided recommendations and data as part of the USCG's process of establishing new operating rules for the bridge.

Martin County's concerns were based on expected increases in freight rail traffic and the proposed addition of high speed passenger rail that would travel across the antiquated FEC Railway Bridge, built circa 1938. It is the only movable bridge along the rail route that is to remain single-tracked under the proposed AAF project. The bridge is a half-mile choke-point that could have serious, negative impacts on maritime operations and the contiguous communities on land, and create railroad pressure to keep the bridge closed to navigation as much as possible.

As a result of Martin County's input, however, the USCG is now considering the addition of an onsite bridge tender at the FEC Railway Bridge. The USCG also indicated it will consider the vessel traffic data the County provided as it makes its determination as to how long the St. Lucie Bridge should remain open to accommodate boaters. The County's data shows that a total of 90,808 boats passed under the bridge during a 15-month period. The County recommended to the USCG that the St. Lucie Bridge remain open no less than 30 minutes of every hour.

Martin County will continue to correspond and communicate with the USCG in an effort to ensure the reasonable needs of the maritime industry and the boating community are met.

Martin County is committed to ensuring the health, safety, and welfare of the public as it relates to the proposed AAF project. For more resources and information, including presentations, studies, letters of concern to state and federal agencies and more, visit www.martin.fl.us . In addition, please visit the County's social media platforms, Facebook and Twitter, for updates.

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