New railroad bridge over the St. Lucie River would help boaters
Virgin Trains announced plans to replace the 94-year-old railroad link over the St Lucie River. What does it mean for Treasure Coast boaters?
Ed Killer, ed. [email protected] com
It can be relative, universal, civil and sidereal. It can even fly.
When a drawbridge goes up and you’re in a car, the time it takes for you to get underway is relative. If late for work, school or a doctor’s appointment, it’s annoying. In case the draw is keeping you from a hot date, those 10-15 minutes can be unbearable.
But if you’re embarking on a day of boating, and what stands between you and a day of fun and frolic is a drawbridge in the down position, it seems like time is standing still.
That’s what could happen in Stuart. And the Coast Guard wants to hear exactly what you have to say about this.
Bridge too far: Brightline reneges on replacing St. Lucie bridge
Make your voice heard
Until July 5, the Coast Guard is accepting comments from boaters about how the train bridge is operated across the St. Lucie River in Stuart. There are three things to keep in mind about the bridge:
- Clearance under the bridge is only 6 feet at mean high tide.
- There is no bridge tender at the train bridge. It is controlled automatically in Jacksonville.
- The train bridge could be within the down position for up to 45 minutes each hour.
To further aid the federal agency, the Coast Guard asks in the questions it proposes:
- Do you currently transit through the FEC Railroad Bridge crossing the particular Okeechobee Waterway at Stuart, Florida?
- How often do you transit this waterway?
- If railway traffic impedes your navigation of this area, how long are you normally delayed?
- How would you propose to regulate the balance of railway and maritime traffic in this area?
- What challenges have you experienced when transiting this particular area due to these bridges and/or railway activity?
- Is the 15 minute hourly opening schedule sufficient for marine traffic? If not, please explain why.
- Should the SR 707 (Dixie Highway) Bridge opening schedule mirror the operating routine of the FEC Railroad Bridge?
Congressman Brian Mast (R-Palm City) held a press conference Friday morning saying he hopes the Coast Guard makes the correct decision.
“I really hope they come to an equitable and fair decision on how the bridge is operated, ” said Mast, who does not own a boat, but belongs to a boat club. “The waterway was here before the train and the Coast Safeguard should remember that when making a decision. ”
In a letter he sent to the Coastline Guard, Mast urged the agency to manage the Stuart train bridge in the particular same manner it operates the New River train bridge in Fort Lauderdale. There, since 2018, they require for every hour the bridge is down, it is also up meaning one out of every two hours. He stated he felt the Coast Guard issued loaded questions with the Stuart link.
Coast Guard seeks boaters comments
Congressman Brian Mast looks for fair & equitable solution between train & boaters
Ed Killer, Wochit
Things you should know
In my opinion, boaters need in order to know a few points before answering these queries:
- Brightline is coming. This will be a done deal. Treasure Coast residents who think the passenger train service will be shut down are not really dealing with reality.
- Local legislators are easily wooed by flashy things like passenger train service. Few of them are boaters and even fewer have transited the train bridge in Stuart.
- When there is to be a train station on the Cherish Coast, the train company won’t be the one to build it. Brightline has not guaranteed it will stop even if one is built. And if one is constructed, it won’t be coming for years, meaning a local resident traveling in order to Orlando by train would have to go to Palm Beach.
- The train company has reneged on plans for a train bridge that affords boaters more clearance when in the down position. It’s not coming anytime soon.
- The particular channel at the Stuart train bridge is narrow and low, eliminating most boats’ ability to transportation the bridge.
- There are over 16, 000 boats registered within Martin County and another 12, 000 in Saint. Lucie County. Many launch upstream of the bridge plus will be impacted.
- The Stuart/St. Lucie River drawbridge is one of three along Brightline’s route. The other two are the New River in Fort Lauderdale and the Loxahatchee River.
Will public comments matter?
This process began as early as 2014. In the beginning, the Coast Guard accepted comments on the teach bridge. There were protests, including one featuring over 80 vessels assembled at the particular bridge. There was the public hearing.
The result of all that uproar? Crickets.
The two federal agencies involved have taught the boaters associated with Martin and St . Lucie counties a couple of things:
For all intents and purposes, I believe the Coastline Guard threw all those previous comments into the circular file. The passenger train service has been ramrodded down our throats since it first began.
The way I see it, this process could go one of three ways. The Coast Guard will collect the comments, and boaters either will certainly be:
- 1) Limited to passing through the bridge for 15 minutes on the hour, which is unacceptable.
- 2) Restricted to 20-30 minutes per hour and be told to be thankful with regard to that, which is ridiculous plus still unacceptable.
- 3) Told to accept whatever the train company tells them, which is undesirable.
Still, this is the process we have and it is the only one affording boaters to express their opinions. If boaters do not send in their feedback, they will definitely become left out of the final decision.
Make no mistake: The train company is going to obtain its way, one way or another. It doesn’t give a hoot about your plans to go boating.
How in order to submit public comment
Ed Killer is TCPalm’s outdoors writer. Sign up for his and other weekly newsletters from profile. tcpalm. com/newsletters/manage . Friend Male impotence on Facebook at Ed Killer , follow him on Twitter @tcpalmekiller or email him at ed. [email protected] possuindo .