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Why not open the Wrightsville Beach drawbridge every other hour for boats?

StarNews file photo.

StarNews file photo.

Q. Given the traffic congestion resulting from openings of the Heide Trask drawbridge, why not allow openings every other hour (odd or even hours) when boats are in queue, rather than every hour?

A. The bridge opening schedule is dictated by the Coast Guard. Currently, the bridge is opened every hour for recreational vessels and on-demand for commercial vessels. The town recently approached the state Department of Transportation and the Coast Guard about modifying the opening schedule to an on-the-hour opening schedule for all vessels including commercial ones, which would give some relief to vehicular traffic and assist the contractor with the completion of a construction project. The Coast Guard approved the change, beginning Oct. 1 and ending at the end of March.

The rules for the opening schedule for the Heide Trask Bridge are part of the Federal Code of Regulations. The process for permanently changing those rules is lengthy and complex, and town officials will most likely discuss it when the current construction project is completed.

Construction on the drawbridge began in 2012 and is expected to be completed in March 2014. The large-scale project, which includes replacement of the steel grid floor, has resulted in lane restrictions and nighttime bridge closures.

RELATED LINKS:

Is the opening schedule for the Wrightsville Beach drawbridge year-round?

At what wind speeds do local bridges close?

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