No change anticipated in bridge schedule
Last spring, in the process of continually looking for ways to improve the mobility of vehicular traffic, the City of St. Augustine made an official request of the US Coast Guard (USCG) to consider modifying the current set schedule for openings of the Bridge of Lions to marine traffic.
Last week the city received its answer to the request: No.
In its letter stating that the city's request was denied, the USCG noted: "The Coast Guard is committed to balancing the needs of land transportation with the reasonable need of navigation. The Coast Guard acknowledges all the safety concerns presented and made the determination that placing further restrictions on the bridge operating schedule would cause a significant negative safety impact to maritime traffic."
Currently the bridge opens when requested by a vessel only on the hour and half hour between 7:00am and 6:00pm, but not at 8:00am, 12:00pm, and 5:00pm except on Saturday, Sunday and federal holidays. Click the video below for a complete explanation of the bridge schedule/openings.
The city's request was simply that the scheduled openings be extended by three hours to 9:00pm and that the bridge not open on weekends and federal holidays at 3:30pm.
The requested changes would have had no effect on current rules that allow for bridge openings on-demand at any time for vessels under tow or being pushed by a tugboat, or vessels experiencing emergencies.
At this time, the city is looking into the process for an appeal of the USCG's decision and may, as before, call on the community's support in voicing its request for these schedule modifications.