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Bridges

   

 

The rules of navigation can be complex to those who are not experienced in them. Inland waterways - bays, rivers, lakes or the open ocean the rules are the same.
 

 

 


   

    En route to the Astoria Marine Construction  Company's shipyard in Astoria, Oregon vessels must pass  beneath two drawbridges.  The first is known as the "New" Young's Bay Bridge. It is the main artery that connects Astoria with it's neighbors to the west and south. It is also an interstate  highway combination of  US 101 and  US 26.

 

 

 

 

         

    Work at the shipyard is scheduled in advanced (although emergencies DO happen).  Passage down the river and through the bay to the "yard" is done during high tide, ensuring enough water to float the larger vessels.  The skipper calls the bridgetender to raise the bridge so that the boat may pass beneath.

    A lot of these bridges can take close to ten minutes to open, some longer when you consider that first they have to blow a siren or horn, they have to flash lights, then they have to lower gates, then they have to lock gates. After the boat passes through, the bridge is lowered and traffic resumes.

Drawbridge operating regulations for these bridges:

    New Young's Bay, mile 0.7, across Young's Bay; Old Young's Bay, mile 2.4, across Young's Bay and the Lewis and Clark River Bridge, mile 1.0, across the Lewis and Clark River at Astoria, Oregon.
    This rule requires that at least one half-hour notice must be provided for draw openings from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. At all other times four hours notice is required.

Sec. 117.899  Young's Bay and Lewis and Clark River

The opening signal is one prolonged blast followed by four short blasts.

(a) The draw of the US101 (New Young's Bay) highway bridge, mile 0.7. across Young's Bay at is given to the drawtender at the Lewis and Clark River Bridge by marine radio, telephone, or other suitable means from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. At all other times at least a four-hour notice by telephone is required.
The opening signal shall be two prolonged blasts followed by one short blast.

(b) The draw of the Oregon State (Old Young's Bay) highway bridge, mile 2.4, across Young's Bay foot of Fifth Street, shall open on signal for the passage of vessels if at least one half-hour notice is given to the drawtender at the Lewis and Clark River Bridge by marine radio, telephone, or other suitable means from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. At all other times at least a four-hour notice is telephone is required.

The opening signal is two prolonged blasts followed by one short blast.

(c) The draw of the Oregon State (Lewis and Clark River) highway bridge, mile 1.0, across the Lewis and Clark River, shall open on signal for the passage of vessels if at least one half-hour notice is given by marine radio, telephone, or other suitable means from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. At all other times at least a four-hour notice is required.


For many years each bridge had at least one or more people that manned that bridge, and that bridge only.


        

 

    This is the skipper's view from the "house". 

He is approaching the Lewis and Clark River Draw Bridge.  The second bridge in the series.
 

Bridgetender job description:

    Controls railroad or highway drawbridge over waterways to permit passage of vessels: Observes approaching vessels and listens for whistle signal from vessel indicating desire to pass. Moves levers that activate traffic signals and alarms, lower gates to halt street traffic, or activate interlocking railroad signals to warn oncoming railroad trains. Starts motors of drawbridge and moves levers to raise or turn drawbridge, giving vessels passage. Signals vessels to pass through opening. Inspects drawbridge and auxiliary equipment. Cleans, oils, and greases machinery. Writes and submits maintenance work requisitions. Prepares reports of accidents occurring on or to bridge. Records name of vessels passing and number of trains or vehicles crossing bridge. May relay messages to vessels in waterway. May make repairs and adjustments to drawbridge. May be required to hold Railway Signalman Certificate or similar license.

    Drawbridge Opening Signals: The operator of a vessel requesting a drawbridge to open shall signal the bridge tender, and the bridge tender shall acknowledge that signal. The following are the most common types of signals a vessel operator should use to request an opening:

  1. Radiotelephone Communications - Most bridges monitor VHF-FM channels 13 and 16 with the exception of bridges in Florida. In June 1996, the FCC published a notice stating that all boaters throughout the State of Florida should hail bridge tenders on VHF-FM channel 9 to reduce the high amount of traffic on channel 13. Boaters operating in Georgia and South Carolina are encouraged to follow the same procedures.
    Note: Boaters should always use "low power (1watt) output" on their VHF-FM marine radio when hailing a bridge tender.

  2. Sound Signals - These signals shall be made by whistle, horn, megaphone, or hailer. To request an opening, the vessel operator shall give the "opening signal" consisting of one prolonged blast (4 to 6 seconds duration) followed by one short blast (about 1 second duration). The draw tender shall reply with the same sound signal (one prolonged followed by one short) acknowledging that the draw can be opened immediately. When a vessel approaches a drawbridge with the draw in the open position, the vessel shall give the opening signal. If no acknowledgement is received within 30 seconds, the vessel may proceed, with caution, through the open draw. When a draw cannot be opened immediately, or is open and must be closed promptly, the draw tender shall give five short blasts sounded in rapid succession after the vessel's opening signal request.

       

NEXT: In the Shipyard

 

 

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