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Wandering Aimlessly
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The United States Coast Guard has proposed a change to the opening schedule of the well-known Figure Eight Island Swing Bridge (Mile 278.1, 20-foot closed vertical clearance), according to a Federal Register entry dated Feb. 20, 2009.

The Figure Eight Island Swing Bridge currently opens on the hour and half-hour year-round, 24 hours a day. The change would effectively eliminate the openings on the hour, meaning the bridge would only open for pleasure vessels on the half-hour. On-demand openings for commercial and government vessels would continue under the proposed changes.

The Coast Guard hopes the proposed schedule "will result in more efficient use of the bridge." Comments are due to the Commander, Fifth Coast Guard District in Portsmouth, VA by April 6, 2009.The complete proposal may be found in the Federal Register, Docket USCG-2009-0051.
 

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Cat Rageous
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John,

Thanks for the post. I'd seen the info earlier and tried to remember how many times I've been able to make the run from Figure 8 to Wrightsville Beach in a half hour. I think maybe once in the past 6 years - when the tide was giving me a boost (pure chance, since I only make that trip once or twice a year). Since Wrightsville Beach bridge only opens on the hour, that means that I'm all but guaranteed an hour wait for the next lift. Same thing heading north. I had considered sending a comment to 7th Dist CG, but don't think it will make much difference. Plus, there's a great dock for tying up just above the WB bridge. Then there's always that new turbo diesel I've been hearing about....:)
 

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I never understood why all of these bridges( Surf City, Figure 8 Island and Wrightville) all open on a different schedule. Is there enough boat traffic around the Figure 8 bridge to constitute the current opening schedule?

Here on Topsail it is only July and Aug that we really could use more openings. Has the CG ever considered that a summer schedule would be more prudent than an all encompassing change?.
 

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Unjustifiable change in Fgure Eight bridge opening schedule

The change in schedule for the Figure 8 Island bridge from half hour openings to hour openings will not affect power boaters much but will dramatically affect sail boaters. It is very difficult for most sailboats to consistently travel the 5 miles from Figure Eight bridge to the Wrightsville Beach bridge (fall) or the reverse (spring). (Wrightsville opens only on the hour) It means most sailboats will be restricted to making a 5 mile passage in 1.5 hours. This would be ok if the need was warranted. Unfortunately, it is not. The Figure Eight Island bridge is a privately owned bridge (one of the very few over the ICW) which is accessible to only the 450 property owners on Figure Eight Island and their guests. Furthermore, it has very few (approximately less than 30) permanent, year round residents with most use of the bridge being used by either construction or maintenance workers or summer vacationers. The proposal has only two possible justifications: a little less wear and tear on the bridge (negligble) and inconvenience for very powerful property owners like former US Senator John Edwards and John Mack, Chairman and CEO of Morgan Stanley and other powerful North Carolina natives. It is inconceivable to me why the US Coast Guard would be supporting a petition to decrease the number of openings. No less conceivable is why this bridge would have restricted openings at all.
Please write and oppose this unfortunate proposal
Howard and Joanne Rockness
 
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