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Coast Guard plans to finalize rules on Bush River bridge

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The rules for opening the Amtrak Bridge on the Bush River in Perryman, Maryland have been interim for 19 years. So the Coast Guard decided it’s time to write final ones for allowing boat traffic to pass.

The agency proposed final rules on Friday, Feb. 14 for public comments. It is taking them until April 14. You can find them at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-02-14/html/2014-03309.htm.

The bridge lies at mile 6.8. The proposed rules would update the language but not change the schedule.

The Coast Guard does not plan a public meeting on the matter but will consider one if people explain why it would be a good idea.

An interim rule was published on May 1, 1985. The Coast Guard asked for public comments but received none. The rules state that the bridge gets opened twice a day on weekends during the summer boating season and on one weekend day in October.

The interim rules don’t state, however, that the bridge must be closed at all other times. The final rules would clarify this because it takes a crew of 10 to open it and opening it on demand would be exceedingly burdensome.

The Coast Guard states that the bridge “is a single-leaf bascule bridge with a vertical clearance of approximately 12 feet above mean high water in the closed position. Due to the overhead power lines, the bridge has a vertical clearance of approximately 34 feet above mean high water in the open position.”

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