The next few months will represent a challenge for area boaters. While most folks know about the impending bridge closure from the perspective of vehicular traffic, there will also be restrictions for marine traffic associated with the ongoing repairs. From what we understand, the following is the official schedule from FDOT:

During the months of August through December, 2011, the bridge will be able to open a single-leaf on demand. Between 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday until August 21, a double-leaf opening will be available only with a three hour notice to the bridge tender. From August 22 through October 22, no double-leaf openings will be available. After October 22 and through December 2011, double-leaf openings will again require a three hour notice between 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

However, when we spoke directly with contractors and the bridge tenders themselves, they tell us that during the project, there will be periods of time when they can offer more than what’s been officially promised and periods where they cannot. This is due in large part to holdups caused by unforeseen complications typical to large custom projects of this nature. The prudent mariner will radio the bridge in advance to check current circumstances before heading out of the Ortega River. We will do our best to keep you informed as conditions change.