Federal law limits marine traffic openings at bridge

SHINE — The state Department of Transportation reminds mariners that, while its agreement with the U.S. Coast Guard requires operators at the Hood Canal Bridge to open the span when requested by marine traffic, there are some limitations regarding marine openings under federal law.

Mariners, when possible, must use the truss spans at either end of the bridge; this is a year-round restriction.

The truss span at the west end of the bridge in Jefferson County provides 31 feet of clearance, while the span at the east end in Kitsap County provides 50 feet of clearance.

Vessels whose superstructures, masts or antennae extend more than 50 feet above the waterline may call the bridge crew on VHF channel 13 or by telephone at 360-779-3233 at least one hour before the intended opening.

Requesting an unneeded draw span opening is a reportable offense to the Coast Guard.

Recreational vessels may not require an opening between 3 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. between May 22 and Sept. 30; this restriction does not apply to commercial or Department of Defense vessels.

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