As boaters on Lake Winnebago and the Fox River we are requesting that the Railroad bridge over the Fox River be operated in a standard and proper fashion. This bridge is normally closed when there is no rail traffic present, blocking navigation. Requests to open the bridge have been met with unanswered phone calls or delays due to the bridge being worked on. Many have been stuck behind this bridge for over an hour.
This is potentially a dangerous situation as rescue departments could also be without access to the lake. It also is a problem if the boater is trying to get back to a marina with a storm coming in. It is also a waste of time and money as we have to idle the boats to keep them in position. Many negative experiences have been recorded in the local boating forums.
This bridge has divided the boating groups in our area. The people that keep boats west of the bridge do most of their boating on the upper Fox River, Lake Butte Des Morts, Lake Winnecone, Lake Poygan, and Wolf River. Those on the east side of the bridge boat mostly on Lake Winnebago, lower Fox River, and Little Lake Butte Des Morts. Reason for staying in these areas are the chances of being stalled behind the closed bridge. Those returning to the Little Lake Butte Des Morts area, if delayed may not make it back to Menasha before they close operations on the bridges and lock. This would cause them to find a place to slip their boat overnight at an unnecessary expense before returning home the next morning.
It is our request that this bridge\'s operation be looked into. Standard operation of a bridge of this nature is for it to be open when requested. To date, normal operational practices have been ignored. Many times people have been stuck behind this bridge for hours before it is opened. This needs immediate correction, the bridge is being operated in violation of regulations.
Draw Bridge Operation Regulations as follows:
TITLE 33--NAVIGATION AND NAVIGABLE WATERS
CHAPTER I--COAST GUARD, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
PART 117--DRAWBRIDGE OPERATION REGULATIONS--Table of Contents
Subpart A--General Requirements
Sec. 117.5 When the draw shall open.
Except as otherwise required by this subpart, drawbridges shall open
promptly and fully for the passage of vessels when a request to open is
given in accordance with this subpart.
Editorial Note: For Federal Register citations relating to temporary
deviations from the regulatory provisions in Sec. 117.5, see the List of
CFR Sections Affected, which appears in the Finding Aids section of the
printed volume and on GPO Access.
editor\'s note: What this means is that with exceptions to follow, any draw must occur when properly signaled by a craft. Not in an hour or two.
Recreational Boaters of the Fox River and the Lake Winnebago Chain.
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