Starting Tuesday, Sept. 6, the main channel for the Sakonnet River at the Route 24 bridge will be closed to mariners for one month. It is to allow Cardi Corporation and the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) to place its barges and cranes in the center channel to continue the new bridge construction.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, a temporary channel will be established on the west side of the Sakonnet River by the old and new Route 24 bridges, and the channel is scheduled to open to vessel traffic on Sept. 8, 2011. Coast Guard vessels will be installing buoys and other aids to navigation to mark the temporary channel over Tuesday and Wednesday.
The following navigation safety measures will apply in the temporary channel, according to the Coast Guard:
- Maximum air draft is 47 feet
- Maximum hull draft is 17 feet
- Vessels equipped with VHF radio and intending to transit the temporary channel should make appropriate securite calls on VHF channel 16 to notify mariners in the area.
- Transits of the temporary channel are limited to:
- One-hour before and after slack tide.
- One-way traffic only (i.e., do not enter the temporary channel if another vessel is approaching or already in the channel in the opposite direction)
Reached last Thursday, Paul Lattanzi, commander of the Coast Guard’s Sector Southeastern New England, said Tropical Storm Irene delayed Cardi a bit and did not want to block the channel with the high volume of recreational traffic anticipated for Labor Day weekend.
The center channel will be reopened in about one month. All schedules are weather-dependent and subject to change.
Motorists with questions can contact RIDOT’s Customer Service office at 401-222-2450 weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Additional information will be available on RIDOT’s website (www.dot.ri.gov) and its social media sites on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and Blogger.
Mariners will be advised via Marine Safety Information Bulletins, Local Notice to Mariners, and Marine Safety Information Broadcasts of any changes to the status of the Sakonnet River channel in the vicinity of the new Route 24 bridge. Mariners should always use extreme caution when navigating in the vicinity of construction activity at the new Route 24 Sakonnet River bridge, and they should monitor VHF channel 22A for the latest safety-related navigation information.
Questions for mariners regarding the Coast Guard's bulletin may be addressed to Mr. Edward G. LeBlanc at U.S. Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England, 401-435-2351.