The Cape Fear Memorial Bridge and the Isabel Holmes Bridge conform to different federal regulations that dictate when the bridges must open, said Amanda Glynn, division bridge program manager for the N.C. Department of Transportation‘s Wilmington office.
The Cape Fear Memorial Bridge must open on demand for all vessels—commercial, government and personal—on every day of the year except for two: the second Saturday in July and the second Sunday in November.
That is because special events are held on those days that require the bridges to be closed. Those events are the Wilmington Family YMCA Tri-Span race in July and the Battleship Half Marathon in November. Glynn said there is also an effort afoot to get the Beach2Battleship Iron Distance Triathlon added to that list of special events where the bridge does not open.
While the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge opens on demand for all vessels, the U.S. Coast Guard issued a temporary deviation from the regulation governing the bridge’s operation to allow for the cleaning and painting of the structure, according to the Federal Register. The deviation means that vessels must give a three-hour notice to the bridge tender to get an opening. The deviation remains in effect through July 30, 2011. The notice gives the contractor time to clear his employees and equipment before the bridge opens.
The Isabel Holmes Bridge is a little different. Like the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge, it does not open on those two days of special events and it opens on demand for government and commercial vessels 24 hours a day
However, the bridge is closed to pleasure craft from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., except at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the draw will open for all waiting vessels. Between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., the bridge opens on demand for all vessels, Glynn said.
The two bridges conform to the U.S. Coast Guard Code of Federal Regulations, Glynn said.
Date posted: May 12, 2011
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