USCG seeks public comment on Salmon Bay BNSF Railroad Bridge replacement

Coast Guard officials are seeking comment from mariners and maritime stakeholders while reviewing an application from Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company requesting approval of the location and plans to build a movable railroad bridge to be constructed across Salmon Bay 0.3 miles west of the Ballard Locks in Seattle.

The comments are needed to establish horizontal and vertical navigation requirements for the new bridge, proposed to replace the current bascule bridge, which has unlimited vertical clearance, with a vertical-lift bridge, which has a finite vertical clearance, to be determined by process of evaluation.

Mariners and maritime stakeholders need to consider current and future prospective vessel navigation clearance requirements. Comments are needed to determine vessel’s vertical air-gap requirements, which is the height of the vessel from waterline to the top of all structural and non-lowerable vessel appurtenances that are essential to navigation.

Based on the information gathered the Coast Guard will prescribe the proposed new bridge horizontal and vertical navigation clearances to ensure the bridge will meet the reasonable needs of existing and prospective future navigation on the waterway.

Parties wishing to make comments or seek further information concerning the proposed project are encouraged to include: the company name; vessel contact information; vessel name; vessel type; length; draft; tonnage; width; and vertical in-air height.

Your comments are requested in writing no later than Oct. 31, 2018. Comments should be addressed to: Commander, Thirteenth Coast Guard District or by email at d13-pf-d13bridges@uscg.mil or by calling the bridge administrator’s office at (206) 220-7282 or 7234.

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4 Responses to USCG seeks public comment on Salmon Bay BNSF Railroad Bridge replacement

  1. gseattle October 9, 2018 at 12:11 pm #

    > existing bridge has 41′ mean high water clearance in the down position, so it would need another 94′ to match the Aurora bridge clearance..

    … for a total of 135 feet high, or 140 considering high tide?

    A towering structure marring the landscape.

    Try replacing whoever thought up that ludicrous plan with someone capable of logic and common sense.

    Seattle is awash in dollars and they want to spend as much of it as possible to be able to claim they need even more. Half the fun for them is delighting their buddies with contracts to do the work at far more profit than the norm. It is an example of the vast corruption in Seattle that must stop.

    • Jay T October 12, 2018 at 10:26 am #

      BNSF railroad is paying for and building the bridge, not the City of Seattle.

  2. Saffy The Pook October 6, 2018 at 9:58 am #

    A new bascule would be ideal from a clearance standpoint. Any idea why they want to go with a lift bridge? At a minimum, it would have to have 70′ of clearance for sailboats. I’m sure the USCG couldn’t care less about pleasure traffic but all the freshwater yards depend on the business. As Steve points out, it would likely have to be much higher for the commercial traffic. I’m sure the neighbors wouldn’t be pleased but it may not be as bad as all that. The current bascule structure looks to be roughly 100′ high in the closed position and possibly higher when open.

  3. Steve Hulsizer October 5, 2018 at 12:03 pm #

    The proposed bridge will be a lift bridge rather than a bascule bridge like the present one. This means there will be a maximum clearance under the bridge.

    In the late 70’s I was project manager at Marco building American #1, a large trawler/ crabber processor. We went on initial sea trials in Lake Washington. The Aurora bridge (I135′ ) was just barley high enough to clear the mast.. In essence, this is the minimum clearance required for a replacement bridge.

    I can already hear the howls from neighbors with a bridge towering 155 feet, including trestle structure, above their houses. The existing bridge has 41′ mean high water clearance in the down position, so it would need another 94′ to match the Aurora bridge clearance..

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