DOT Seeks Comment on Remote Operation of Sturgeon Bay Bridges

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) Northeast Region office announces a United States Coast Guard (USCG) interim rule allowing for remote operations of bridges crossing the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal in Sturgeon Bay is now available for comment in the Federal Register. The interim rule is a precursor to a final rule which, if granted, would allow for permanent remote operation of bridges in Sturgeon Bay. The interim rule in the Federal Register provides USCG statutory authority for remote operations in Sturgeon Bay from March 23, 2017 to midnight on March 15, 2018. The time frame the interim rule will be in effect is known as a “test period” to allow testing of remote operation equipment for all three drawbridges in Sturgeon Bay and public comment on the safety and effectiveness of the remote operation. The current remote operating schedules do not change under the interim rule. The Michigan Street Bridge began remote operations in 2011, and the Bayview Bridge began remote operations in 2014, both from a bridge tender at the Maple-Oregon Bridge, under temporary, regional authorization from the USCG. During the interim rule test period, WisDOT will compile data on remote operations in Sturgeon Bay. WisDOT will provide this data to the USCG and public in fall of 2017. USCG will evaluate the data and public comments and determine whether to extend the test period, modify the arrangement, or make the remote operation arrangement permanent.

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