DOT Testing Remote Bridge Operations On The Fox River
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) Northeast Region office has announced a United States Coast Guard (USCG) interim rule allowing for remote operations of bridges crossing the Fox River in the city of Oshkosh, Winnebago County, Wisconsin, 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 the city of Oshkosh.
The interim rule in the Federal Register provides USCG statutory authority for remote operations in Oshkosh from now until midnight on November 1, 2021. The time frame the interim rule will be in effect is known as a “test period” to allow testing of remote operation equipment for drawbridges in Oshkosh and public comment on the safety and effectiveness of the remote operation. The current operating schedules do not change under the interim rule.
The Main Street Bridge (US 45), Congress Street Bridge (WIS 21) and the Wisconsin Street Bridge (WIS 44) began testing remote operations equipment in April 2021 and has been ongoing with bridge tenders in place at the bridges. The current testing of the remote operations equipment will continue through the entire watercraft season.
During the interim rule test period, WisDOT will compile data on remote operations. WisDOT will provide this data to the USCG in fall of 2021. 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.
To view the USCG Interim Rule and/or provide comment/materials on the interim rule:
Stakeholders and the general public can view the rule and submit comments or materials related to the Interim Rule through November 2021 via the Federal eRulemaking Portal, www.regulations.gov, type [USCG-2021-0336] in the search box, and then click on the “Open Docket” folder on the line associated with this rulemaking. The website accepts anonymous comments. All comments received will be posted without change to the website. If you cannot submit comments or material via the website, or you would like more information regarding this Interim Rule, you can call or e-mail Mr. Lee Soule, Bridge Management Specialist, Ninth Coast Guard District; telephone 216-902-6085, or [email protected].