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Front Page » Top Stories » Coast Guard May Curtail Opening Of Brickell Bridge During Lunch Hour

Coast Guard May Curtail Opening Of Brickell Bridge During Lunch Hour

Written by on September 18, 2003

By Catherine Lackner
Lunch-hour traffic jams caused by Miami’s Brickell Avenue Bridge openings may disappear by year’s end.

The Coast Guard has published in the Federal Register a "notice of proposed rule making," which announces it will consider a one-hour curfew on most Miami River marine traffic from noon to 1 p.m. from the mouth of the river to the Northwest 27th Avenue bridge. The Coast Guard also will consider continuing the current weekday 7-9:30 a.m. and 4:30-6 p.m. curfews. In addition, the bridge would only open on the hour and on the half-hour from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Tugboats and ships under tow, which can only travel at high tide; Coast Guard, military and other official marine traffic; and ships in emergency situations would be exempt from the curfews, said Michael Lieberum, bridge management specialist with the Coast Guard’s Bridges Branch in Miami.

The Coast Guard will solicit comments from the public until Oct. 10, "and no decision will be made until all the comments have been considered," Mr. Lieberum said. The process usually takes about 30 days, he said.

"We’re in support of this," said Rick Gonsalves, president of the Brickell Area Association, one of the groups that have pressed for limiting the bridge openings, coordinated traffic signalization and other measures to unsnarl Brickell and downtown traffic. "We’ve encouraged our members to get in touch with the Coast Guard and we support these rule changes as an organization. We don’t think it will eliminate the traffic problems but hopefully the curfews will help somewhat."

The restrictions would apply to pleasure boaters, which had been exempt from such curfews until construction began on replacement of the Southwest Second Avenue bridge. Then the Coast Guard imposed, on a trial basis, three weekday curfews to all marine traffic except ships being towed, government traffic and ships in distress.Details: Brickell Area Association, (305) 375-0080; US Coast Guard, Bridges Branch, (305) 415-6743.