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Old 04-27-2014, 06:58 PM   #41
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........... I've wondered why those two bridges aren't removed altogether since they are essentially redundant.
I've wondered that too. Probably some influential people want them to stay.

The Ben Sawyer swing bridge just north of Charleston, SC needed to be replaced. The state offered a 65' fixed bridge but the residents demanded an exact replacement. They won. It's still a swing bridge with rush hour restrictions.
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Old 05-06-2014, 07:25 AM   #42
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Accurate data would be good, last week heading north we came to a bridge that was listed at 21' but was actually 25'. We had researched all the bridges on our route for that day and we air draw 35' antennas up or 23' antennas down.

As all the bridges for that day were meant to be either above 35' or below 23' I left my antennas up, needless to say we came around a bend and had to scramble to lower antennas going through a Georgia shoaling area for a grumpy tender on a Sunday morning.

We have met some real nice bridge tenders and others who seem to be having a bad day.

Look forward to the AC program Jeff.

ps I needed a canary yesterday between Charleston and here 15 m south of Georgetown
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Old 05-06-2014, 07:57 AM   #43
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Bridge height is a complex and non-standard thing. First, seeing 25' when the bridge is listed at 21' is easily explained by tide. The one nearly standard thing is that bridge heights are almost always listed at high tide.

But it gets worse...

Few bridges are flat across the opening. There is usually an arch since they achieve more strength that way. So what should the height boards and charts provide as a measurement? The center or the edge? There's no standard although Florida, thank you, is one place where all measurements at height boards are "low steel." They will sometimes have a sign telling you how much extra is in the center, but not always. It is usually 3-4 feet on ICW bridges.

Other states have no standard. We just passed a bridge in NC (Onslow Beach Bridge?) where the height board noted that it was the height in the center.

Nautical charts have no standard. You're never really sure what a height measurement means except it's supposed to be for high tide.

In ActiveCaptain, there will often be a note about these things where any information was available. My wife is responsible for all bridge data and has spent years developing accessory information about bridges from different states and countries to get more info when needed. All of these bridge issues happen in other countries too. And on rivers and areas protected by locks, normal pool is generally the height although many bridges list heights by summer and winter pool. Even then, they're not taking the other factors into consideration.
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Old 05-06-2014, 08:48 AM   #44
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Accurate data would be good, last week heading north we came to a bridge that was listed at 21' but was actually 25'. We had researched all the bridges on our route for that day and we air draw 35' antennas up or 23' antennas down.

As all the bridges for that day were meant to be either above 35' or below 23' I left my antennas up, needless to say we came around a bend and had to scramble to lower antennas going through a Georgia shoaling area for a grumpy tender on a Sunday morning.

We have met some real nice bridge tenders and others who seem to be having a bad day.

Look forward to the AC program Jeff.

ps I needed a canary yesterday between Charleston and here 15 m south of Georgetown
As Jeff mentioned tide swing makes the difference. You did have accurate data, you just didn't use it all (height of bridge and height of tide. ) I am curious what bridge you are speaking of that is near a Georgia shoaling area?

I don't recall any shoaling issues at Causton Bluff,which is the 21ft bridge in Georgia, nor at Skidaway, which is 22. I was chatting with a friend the other day who had just gone through both, and back again through Causton(having some work done at Thunderbolt) with a 6 foot draft sail boat.We were talking about the "usual suspects" shoaling wise in the area, mostly for old times sake for me. Made no mention of any issues near these bridges and he has to open them both.
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Old 05-06-2014, 02:00 PM   #45
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Other states have no standard.
Which goes to show that the United States is not that united. How about radio contact? Channel 9 in some states, channel 13 in others.

And if they are willing to spend several million dollars building a bridge, why can't they install and maintain clearance boards?

And aren't high rise bridges cheaper in the long run when you consider staffing, maintenance and inconvenience to motorists and police or fire vehicles?
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Old 05-06-2014, 02:46 PM   #46
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Actually in the US, the Coast Guard regulates bridge clearances and supplies NOAA with the clearance data. Unless the height is charted as "at center" the definition of clearance is the least height within the horizontal clearance of the channel. Clearance guide boards are also regulated by the USCG, and are a guide to minimum height within the channel. Personally I never found it all that confusing, I knew where the tide was and I knew the height of the bridge.
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Old 05-06-2014, 02:59 PM   #47
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Funny, I just talked to my buddy again and he reminded me that Skidaway draw bridge is no more, no wonder he didn't say anything about clearance!
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Old 05-06-2014, 03:46 PM   #48
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Clearance guide boards are also regulated by the USCG, and are a guide to minimum height within the channel.
Wrightsville Beach bridge has height boards that measure the height at the center, hightest point, of the bridge. It was unusual enough that we edited the bridge information ourselves to note it. I have to admit that it's the first one I've seen like that - but it was very clearly labeled.

We also found really dumb colors of height boards on some of the NC bridges. White lettering on a green background that gets sun bleached is a really poor choice.

It seems hard to believe that there is much regulation on this especially since so many bridges don't even have height boards. And many that do face them inwards so you can see them really well when you're passing through the bridge but not during the approach.
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Old 05-06-2014, 05:07 PM   #49
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Wrightsville Beach bridge has height boards that measure the height at the center, hightest point, of the bridge. It was unusual enough that we edited the bridge information ourselves to note it. I have to admit that it's the first one I've seen like that - but it was very clearly labeled.

We also found really dumb colors of height boards on some of the NC bridges. White lettering on a green background that gets sun bleached is a really poor choice.

It seems hard to believe that there is much regulation on this especially since so many bridges don't even have height boards. And many that do face them inwards so you can see them really well when you're passing through the bridge but not during the approach.
Might be worth having a chat with the CG. Here is the CFR on clearance gauges.

33 CFR 118.160 - Vertical clearance gauges. | LII / Legal Information Institute
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Old 05-10-2014, 08:43 AM   #50
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Wrightsville Beach bridge has height boards that measure the height at the center, hightest point, of the bridge. It was unusual enough that we edited the bridge information ourselves to note it. I have to admit that it's the first one I've seen like that - but it was very clearly labeled.

We also found really dumb colors of height boards on some of the NC bridges. White lettering on a green background that gets sun bleached is a really poor choice.

It seems hard to believe that there is much regulation on this especially since so many bridges don't even have height boards. And many that do face them inwards so you can see them really well when you're passing through the bridge but not during the approach.
I found that 50% of the bridges give a center height, 50% a low steel height and 50% a height st the fenders.
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Old 05-10-2014, 09:13 AM   #51
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I found that 50% of the bridges give a center height, 50% a low steel height and 50% a height st the fenders.
And that's the problem, you don't know how the measurements are taken at the bridge you're about to pass through.
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Old 05-10-2014, 08:36 PM   #52
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After 81 miles today on the ICW and one bridge that only opened on the hour (Wrightsville Beach) and three others that opened on the half hour or hour I must say the bridge tenders were very courteous.

One bridge tender said they couldn't open because there was an EMS emergency on the island and would not open for quite awhile, we removed some hardware to squeeze under instead of waiting for an undetermined time and were pleased we did as it ended up being a fatality that had some waiting for quite awhile.

After reading some interesting exchanges on Active Captain about some of the bridge tenders we were expecting the worst but were relieved how polite all the tenders were.

Thank you ....
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Old 05-10-2014, 08:56 PM   #53
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After reading some interesting exchanges on Active Captain about some of the bridge tenders we were expecting the worst but were relieved how polite all the tenders were.

Thank you ....
The vast majority of times we've encountered bridge tenders, they've been courteous and to us they always have been, although one we talk to regularly is short and grouchy sounding. Just his style. Most of the ones we've heard who haven't been nice have typically had good reasons. They were dealing with boaters who obviously had no idea how things worked. Either people upset over waits at scheduled bridges or those not wanting to lower antennas to clear. There have been a couple with discussions of whether they could clear or whether they could if they lowered antennas and the lack of certainty on the part of the boater led to confusion where a quick straight answer would have avoided issues.
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Old 05-10-2014, 10:23 PM   #54
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We went through Alligator River swing bridge yesterday. That bridge tender has to be the best in the world. He times it all and makes the whole process enjoyable.

Today we're docked at Atlantic Yacht Basin just south of Great Bridge. I heard an exchange on the VHF that was unbelievable. A barge was going south while a few recreational vessels were headed north. Both recreational vessels call the bridge to request the opening. They respond about their hourly opening. The bridge opens and one recreational vessel goes through. The other talks to the barge to let them go first (they were moving and I don't think I would have passed at the bridge either). After the barge goes through, the bridge tender closes the bridge. The second recreational vessel calls to ask what's going on. The bridge tender complains that the boat didn't let them know he wanted to go through. He protests that he DID tell the bridge he wanted to go through and got a confirmation. I heard it myself. The bridge tender says, well, they just had a shift change and he guesses the other tender didn't tell him. But too bad, he's got to wait an hour.

That should have been a Coast Guard complaint. My wife told me to not get involved - not sure why but I listen to her in things like this. The poor guy had to sit circling for an hour.
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Old 07-01-2014, 09:54 PM   #55
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After almost completing the whole Erie Canal I must say the bridge tenders especially those who on the western part of the Erie have to take care of multiple bridges sometimes several miles apart have been great.

The lock guys 34 that we have dealt with have also been very good, I am impressed by their courtesy and willingness to help.

Even the other day a lock would not open and it took 90 minutes or so to get a generator to arrive to power it up and the lock guy was so apologetic, it wasn't a big deal we all just tied off to the wall and took a stroll but you could tell that operator took the lock failure problem personally.

now that's pretty cool it reinvigorates my belief in good people.
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Old 07-01-2014, 09:59 PM   #56
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In the back of my mind, I'm worried the bridge will break down, leaving us stranded at the end of navigable water.



"D" Street Bridge, Petaluma, CA, entering turning basin.
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Old 07-01-2014, 11:27 PM   #57
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And that's the problem, you don't know how the measurements are taken at the bridge you're about to pass through.
In most cases I've found it to be labeled as to where the measurement is taken. The clearance sign normally says "clearance at low steel", "height at center", "X amount of feet more clearance at center", etc.
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