By Nicole Rodriguez TC PALM
The Coast Guard will hold open hearings with public comment on the potential impacts of All Aboard Florida on waterways, several weeks after public outcry over the previously planned process.
The Coast Guard will hold three public meetings and accept oral and written comments about proposed high speed trains’ effect on Florida East Coast Railroad train bridges across the St. Lucie, Loxahatchee and the New rivers, according to a Coast Guard announcement Monday afternoon.
Meetings will take place in Hollywood on Nov. 12, Stuart on Nov. 13 and Jupiter on Nov. 14. The Coast Guard previously scheduled a series of meetings where the public could fill out comment cards but canceled them in mid-September after receiving protests.
The impact on the maritime industry and increased closings of the single-track railroad bridge over the St. Lucie River in Stuart has concerned area residents. The St. Lucie River bridge is lowered for crossing trains and the clearance is below that needed by most boats using the federal waterway, boaters have said.
Total daily train crossings would grow from 10 in 2013 to at least 42 when All Aboard Florida begins service, growing total weekday closing time from four hours to 9.8 hours, and total weekend closures from 2.7 hours to 7.6 hours, according to a draft environmental impact statement released in September by the Federal Railroad Administration.
“It is the intent of the Seventh Coast Guard District Bridge Administration Branch to collect comments from these public meetings along with navigation surveys and other information to establish and preserve the reasonable needs of navigation on these three rivers,” the release stated.
Residents who wish to speak can sign up before or at the meeting. If a large crowd shows up, comments may be limited to a certain amount of time, the release states.
- New River bridge discussion: 6:30 to 9 p.m. Nov. 12, Anne Kolb Nature Center at West Lake Park, 751 Sheridan Street, HOLLYWOOD
- St. Lucie River bridge discussion: 5:30 to 8 p.m. Nov. 13, John F. Armstrong Wing Auditorium of the Blake Library, 2351 S.E. Monterey Road, STUART
- Loxahatchee River bridge discussion: 5:30 to 8 p.m. Nov. 14, Jupiter Council Chambers, 210 Military Trail, JUPITER
Written materials can be submitted by Dec. 1.
On your comment, include the docket number for the public meetings, USCG-2014-0937.
Mail: Brickell Federal Building c/o Seventh Coast Guard District Bridge Branch, 909 S.E. First Ave., Miami, FL 33131-3050
Hand delivery: Same as mail delivery address, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, except on federal holidays. Call 305-415-6946 for more information.
To view comments and documents, call 305-415-6946 to arrange a visit to the Coast Guard office at the Brickell Federal Building.