Members of the Connecticut Marine Trades Association recently attended the quarterly Amtrak Movable Bridge Advisory council meeting at the DEEP Marine Headquarters in Old Lyme, and came away with the following report.
According to Amtrak, 5 bridges from Old Saybrook to Mystic are in good repair and operating normally.
The new Old Lyme Draw is still in the design and environmental report stage, but should be built on a new alignment to the south of the existing bridge. The new bridge is expected to have better vertical clearance for boats, perhaps 5’ to 10′.
The new Niantic liftbridge is performing faster and more reliably.
The Shaw Cove swingbridge needs a new fendering system, but the installation probably won’t occur until next winter. Issues with not getting prompt openings by for the fishing boats was discussed at length, and Amtrak said it will work with the bridge operators and train scheduling to try to remedy the issue. A new visual computer aid will be coming on-line in May that will let the bridge operators know where the trains are at any given time.
The Thames River liftbridge is back in good repair after the cable fire a while ago that took out all power to the operating mechanism and led to no openings for about a week. The cables have been replaced and an alternative for powering the lift motors is being investigated.
The Mystic bridge is working normally and all eyes are watching for the Charles W. Morgan to make her first trip through that bridge since the ’40s.
Lastly, all boaters are invited to the annual Amtrak Spring Boaters Meeting on June 5, at 6:00 p.m. in New London. All issues relating to boat traffic and bridge openings will be discussed. Call CMTA at (860-767-2645) for more info.