Collapse to view only § 498b. Repealed.

§ 491.
Approval of and deviation from plans; exemptions

When, after March 23, 1906, authority is granted by Congress to any persons to construct and maintain a bridge across or over any of the navigable waters of the United States, such bridge shall not be built or commenced until the plans and specifications for its construction, together with such drawings of the proposed construction and such map of the proposed location as may be required for a full understanding of the subject, have been submitted to the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating for the Secretary’s approval, nor until the Secretary shall have approved such plans and specifications and the location of such bridge and accessory works; and when the plans for any bridge to be constructed under the provisions of sections 491 to 494 and 495 to 498 of this title, have been approved by the Secretary it shall not be lawful to deviate from such plans, either before or after completion of the structure, unless the modification of such plans has previously been submitted to and received the approval of the Secretary. This section shall not apply to any bridge over waters which are not subject to the ebb and flow of the tide and which are not used and are not susceptible to use in their natural condition or by reasonable improvement as a means to transport interstate or foreign commerce.

(Mar. 23, 1906, ch. 1130, § 1, 34 Stat. 84; Pub. L. 97–322, title I, § 107(c), Oct. 15, 1982, 96 Stat. 1582; Pub. L. 97–449, § 2(d)(1), Jan. 12, 1983, 96 Stat. 2440; Pub. L. 98–557, § 17(g)(1), Oct. 30, 1984, 98 Stat. 2869; Pub. L. 114–120, title III, § 306(b)(2)(A), Feb. 8, 2016, 130 Stat. 55.)
§ 492.
Bridge as post route; limitation as to charges against Government; telegraph and telephone lines

Any bridge built in accordance with the provisions of sections 491 to 494 and 495 to 498 of this title, shall be a lawful structure and shall be recognized and known as a post route, upon which no higher charge shall be made for the transmission over the same of the mails, the troops, and the munitions of war of the United States than the rate per mile paid for the transportation over any railroad, street railway, or public highway leading to said bridge; and the United States shall have the right to construct, maintain, and repair, without any charge therefor, telegraph and telephone lines across and upon said bridge and its approaches; and equal privileges in the use of said bridge and its approaches shall be granted to all telegraph and telephone companies.

(Mar. 23, 1906, ch. 1130, § 2, 34 Stat. 85.)
§ 493.
Use of railroad bridges by other railroad companies

All railroad companies desiring the use of any railroad bridge built in accordance with the provisions of sections 491 to 494 and 495 to 498 of this title, shall be entitled to equal rights and privileges relative to the passage of railway trains or cars over the same and over the approaches thereto upon payment of a reasonable compensation for such use; and in case of any disagreement between the parties in regard to the terms of such use or the sums to be paid all matters at issue shall be determined by the Secretary of Transportation upon hearing the allegations and proofs submitted to him.

(Mar. 23, 1906, ch. 1130, § 3, 34 Stat. 85; Pub. L. 97–449, § 2(d)(1), Jan. 12, 1983, 96 Stat. 2440.)
§ 494.
Obstruction of navigation; alterations and removals; lights and signals; draws

No bridge erected or maintained under the provisions of sections 491 to 494 and 495 to 498 of this title, shall at any time unreasonably obstruct the free navigation of the waters over which it is constructed, and if any bridge erected in accordance with the provisions of said sections, shall, in the opinion of the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating at any time unreasonably obstruct such navigation, either on account of insufficient height, width of span, or otherwise, or if there be difficulty in passing the draw opening or the drawspan of such bridge by rafts, steamboats, or other water craft, it shall be the duty of the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating after giving the parties interested reasonable opportunity to be heard, to notify the persons owning or controlling such bridge to so alter the same as to render navigation through or under it reasonably free, easy, and unobstructed, stating in such notice the changes required to be made, and prescribing in each case a reasonable time in which to make such changes, and if at the end of the time so specified the changes so required have not been made, the persons owning or controlling such bridge shall be deemed guilty of a violation of said sections; and all such alterations shall be made and all such obstructions shall be removed at the expense of the persons owning or operating said bridge. The persons owning or operating any such bridge shall maintain, at their own expense, such lights and other signals thereon as the Commandant of the Coast Guard shall prescribe. If the bridge shall be constructed with a draw, then the draw shall be opened promptly by the persons owning or operating such bridge upon reasonable signal for the passage of boats and other water craft.

(Mar. 23, 1906, ch. 1130, § 4, 34 Stat. 85; Mar. 4, 1913, ch. 141, § 1, 37 Stat. 736; 1946 Reorg. Plan No. 3, §§ 101–104, eff. July 16, 1946, 11 F.R. 7875, 60 Stat. 1097; Pub. L. 97–449, § 2(d)(1), Jan. 12, 1983, 96 Stat. 2440; Pub. L. 100–17, title I, § 135(a), Apr. 2, 1987, 101 Stat. 173; Pub. L. 109–241, title IX, § 902(k), July 11, 2006, 120 Stat. 568; Pub. L. 111–281, title IX, § 903(a)(9), Oct. 15, 2010, 124 Stat. 3010; Pub. L. 114–120, title III, § 306(b)(2)(B), Feb. 8, 2016, 130 Stat. 55.)
§ 494a.
Study of bridges over navigable waters

The Commandant of the Coast Guard shall submit to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives a comprehensive study on the construction or alteration of any bridge, drawbridge, or causeway over the navigable waters of the United States with a channel depth of 25 feet or greater that may impede or obstruct future navigation to or from port facilities and for which a permit under the Act of March 23, 1906 (33 U.S.C. 491 et seq.), popularly known as the Bridge Act of 1906, was requested during the period beginning on January 1, 2006, and ending on August 3, 2011.

(Pub. L. 111–281, title IX, § 905, Oct. 15, 2010, 124 Stat. 3012; Pub. L. 112–213, title VII, § 702(a), Dec. 20, 2012, 126 Stat. 1580.)
§ 495.
Violations of orders respecting bridges and accessory works
(a)
Criminal penalties for violation; misdemeanor; fine; new offenses; jurisdiction: suits for recovery of removal expenses, enforcement of removal, and obstruction-to-navigation causes or questions

Any persons who shall willfully fail or refuse to comply with the lawful order of the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating or the Chief of Engineers, made in accordance with the provisions of sections 491 to 494 and 495 to 498 of this title, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction thereof shall be punished in any court of competent jurisdiction by a fine not exceeding $5,000, and every month such persons shall remain in default shall be deemed a new offense and subject such persons to additional penalties therefor; and in addition to the penalties above described the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating and the Chief of Engineers may, upon refusal of the persons owning or controlling any such bridge and accessory works to comply with any lawful order issued by the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating or Chief of Engineers in regard thereto, cause the removal of such bridge and accessory works at the expense of the persons owning or controlling such bridge, and suit for such expense may be brought in the name of the United States against such persons, and recovery had for such expense in any court of competent jurisdiction; and the removal of any structures erected or maintained in violation of the provisions of said sections, or the order or direction of the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating or Chief of Engineers made in pursuance thereof may be enforced by injunction, mandamus, or other summary process, upon application to the district court in the district in which such structure may, in whole or in part, exist, and proper proceedings to this end may be instituted under the direction of the Attorney General of the United States at the request of the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating; and in case of any litigation arising from any obstruction or alleged obstruction to navigation created by the construction of any bridge under said sections, the cause or question arising may be tried before the district court of the United States in any district which any portion of said obstruction or bridge touches.

(b)
Civil penalties for violation; separate offenses; notice and hearing; assessment, collection, and remission; civil actions

Whoever violates any provision of sections 491 to 494 and 495 to 498 of this title, or any order issued under sections 491 to 494 and 495 to 498 of this title, shall be liable to a civil penalty of not more than $25,000 for a violation occurring in 2008 and any year thereafter. Each day a violation continues shall be deemed a separate offense. No penalty may be assessed under this subsection until the person charged is given notice and an opportunity for a hearing on the charge. The Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating may assess and collect any civil penalty incurred under this subsection and, in his discretion, may remit, mitigate, or compromise any penalty until the matter is referred to the Attorney General. If a person against whom a civil penalty is assessed under this subsection fails to pay that penalty, an action may be commenced in the district court of the United States for any district in which the violation occurs for such penalty.

(Mar. 23, 1906, ch. 1130, § 5, 34 Stat. 85; Mar. 3, 1911, ch. 231, §§ 289, 291, 36 Stat. 1167; Pub. L. 97–322, title I, § 108(c), Oct. 15, 1982, 96 Stat. 1584; Pub. L. 97–449, § 2(d)(1), Jan. 12, 1983, 96 Stat. 2440; Pub. L. 108–293, title VI, § 601(a), Aug. 9, 2004, 118 Stat. 1050; Pub. L. 114–120, title III, § 306(b)(2)(C), Feb. 8, 2016, 130 Stat. 55; Pub. L. 115–232, div. C, title XXXV, § 3548(b), Aug. 13, 2018, 132 Stat. 2328.)
§ 496.
Time for commencement and completion of bridge

Whenever Congress shall after March 23, 1906, by law authorize the construction of any bridge over or across any of the navigable waters of the United States, and no time for the commencement and completion of such bridge is named in said Act, the authority thereby granted shall cease and be null and void unless the actual construction of the bridge authorized in such Act be commenced within one year and completed within three years from the date of the passage of such Act.

(Mar. 23, 1906, ch. 1130, § 6, 34 Stat. 86.)
§ 497.
“Persons” defined

The word “persons” as used in sections 491 to 494 and 495 to 498 of this title, shall be construed to import both the singular and the plural, as the case demands, and shall include municipalities, quasi-municipal corporations, corporations, companies, and associations.

(Mar. 23, 1906, ch. 1130, § 7, 34 Stat. 86.)
§ 498.
Reservation of right to alter or repeal

The right to alter, amend, or repeal sections 491 to 494 and 495 to 498 of this title, is expressly reserved as to any and all bridges which may be built in accordance with the provisions of said sections, and the United States shall incur no liability for the alteration, amendment, or repeal thereof to the owner or owners or any other persons interested in any bridge which shall have been constructed in accordance with its provisions.

(Mar. 23, 1906, ch. 1130, § 8, 34 Stat. 86.)
§ 498a.
Repealed. Pub. L. 100–17, title I, § 135(b), Apr. 2, 1987, 101 Stat. 174
§ 498b.
Repealed. Pub. L. 100–17, title I, § 135(c), Apr. 2, 1987, 101 Stat. 174
§ 499.
Regulations for drawbridges
(a)
Criminal penalties for violations; enforcement; rules and regulations

It shall be the duty of all persons owning, operating, and tending the drawbridges built prior to August 18, 1894, or which may thereafter be built across the navigable rivers and other waters of the United States, to open, or cause to be opened, the draws of such bridges under such rules and regulations as in the opinion of the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating the public interests require to govern the opening of drawbridges for the passage of vessels and other water crafts, and such rules and regulations, when so made and published, shall have the force of law. Every such person who shall willfully fail or refuse to open, or cause to be opened, the draw of any such bridge for the passage of a boat or boats, as provided in such regulations, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and on conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not more than $2,000 nor less than $1,000, or by imprisonment (in the case of a natural person) for not exceeding one year, or by both such fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court: Provided, That the proper action to enforce the provisions of this subsection may be commenced before any magistrate judge, judge, or court of the United States, and such magistrate judge, judge, or court shall proceed in respect thereto as authorized by law in case of crimes against the United States: Provided further, That whenever, in the opinion of the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating, the public interests require it, he may make rules and regulations to govern the opening of drawbridges for the passage of vessels and other water crafts, and such rules and regulations, when so made and published, shall have the force of law, and any willful violation thereof shall be punished as hereinbefore provided: Provided further, That any regulations made in pursuance of this section may be enforced as provided in section 413 of this title, the provisions whereof are made applicable to the said regulations. Any rules and regulations made in pursuance of this section shall, to the extent practical and feasible, provide for regularly scheduled openings of drawbridges during seasons of the year, and during times of the day, when scheduled openings would help reduce motor vehicle traffic delays and congestion on roads and highways linked by drawbridges.

(b)
Nonstructural vessel appurtenances; unreasonable delays

No vessel owner or operator shall signal a drawbridge to open for any nonstructural vessel appurtenance which is not essential to navigation or which is easily lowered and no person shall unreasonably delay the opening of a draw after the signal required by rules or regulations under this section has been given. The Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating shall issue rules and regulations to implement this subsection.

(c)
Civil penalties for violation; notice and hearing; assessment, collection, and remission; civil actions

Whoever violates any rule or regulation issued under subsection (a) or (b), shall be liable to a civil penalty of not more than $5,000 for a violation occurring in 2004; $10,000 for a violation occurring in 2005; $15,000 for a violation occurring in 2006; $20,000 for a violation occurring in 2007; and $25,000 for a violation occurring in 2008 and any year thereafter. No penalty may be assessed under this subsection until the person charged is given notice and an opportunity for a hearing on the charge. The Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating may assess and collect any civil penalty incurred under this subsection and, in his discretion, may remit, mitigate, or compromise any penalty until the matter is referred to the Attorney General. If a person against whom a civil penalty is assessed under this subsection fails to pay that penalty, an action may be commenced in the district court of the United States for any district in which the violation occurs for such penalty.

(d)
Temporary changes to drawbridge operating schedules
Notwithstanding section 553 of title 5, whenever a temporary change to the operating schedule of a drawbridge, lasting 180 days or less—
(1)
is approved—
(A)
the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating shall—
(i) issue a deviation approval letter to the bridge owner; and
(ii)
announce the temporary change in—
(I) the Local Notice to Mariners;(II) a broadcast notice to mariners and through radio stations; or(III) such other local media as the Secretary considers appropriate; and
(B)
the bridge owner, except a railroad bridge owner, shall notify—
(i) the public by publishing notice of the temporary change in a newspaper of general circulation published in the place where the bridge is located;
(ii) the department, agency, or office of transportation with jurisdiction over the roadway that abuts the approaches to the bridge; and
(iii) the law enforcement organization with jurisdiction over the roadway that abuts the approaches to the bridge; or
(2)
is denied, the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating shall—
(A) not later than 10 days after the date of receipt of the request, provide the bridge owner in writing the reasons for the denial, including any supporting data and evidence used to make the determination; and
(B) provide the bridge owner a reasonable opportunity to address each reason for the denial and resubmit the request.
(e)
Drawbridge movements
The Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating—
(1) shall require a drawbridge operator to record each movement of the drawbridge in a logbook;
(2) may inspect the logbook to ensure drawbridge movement is in accordance with the posted operating schedule;
(3) shall review whether deviations from the posted operating schedule are impairing vehicular and pedestrian traffic; and
(4) may determine if the operating schedule should be adjusted for efficiency of maritime or vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
(f)
Requirements
(1)
Logbooks
An operator of a drawbridge built across a navigable river or other water of the United States—
(A)
that opens the draw of such bridge for the passage of a vessel, shall record in a logbook—
(i) the bridge identification and date of each opening;
(ii) the bridge tender or operator for each opening;
(iii) each time it is opened for navigation;
(iv) each time it is closed for navigation;
(v) the number and direction of vessels passing through during each opening;
(vi) the types of vessels passing through during each opening;
(vii) an estimated or known size (height, length, and beam) of the largest vessel passing through during each opening;
(viii) for each vessel, the vessel name and registration number if easily observable; and
(ix) all maintenance openings, malfunctions, or other comments; and
(B)
that remains open to navigation but closes to allow for trains to cross, shall record in a logbook—
(i) the bridge identification and date of each opening and closing;
(ii) the bridge tender or operator;
(iii) each time it is opened to navigation;
(iv) each time it is closed to navigation; and
(v) all maintenance openings, closings, malfunctions, or other comments.
(2)
Maintenance of logbooks

A drawbridge operator shall maintain logbooks required under paragraph (1) for not less than 5 years.

(3)
Submission of logbooks

At the request of the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating, a drawbridge operator shall submit to the Secretary the logbook required under paragraph (1) as the Secretary considers necessary to carry out this section.

(4)
Exemption

The requirements under paragraph (1) shall be exempt from sections 3501 to 3521 of title 44.

(Aug. 18, 1894, ch. 299, § 5, 28 Stat. 362; June 13, 1902, ch. 1079, § 6, 32 Stat. 374; Pub. L. 90–578, title IV, § 402(b)(2), Oct. 17, 1968, 82 Stat. 1118; Pub. L. 97–322, title I, § 108(a), Oct. 15, 1982, 96 Stat. 1582; Pub. L. 97–449, § 2(d)(1), Jan. 12, 1983, 96 Stat. 2440; Pub. L. 100–448, § 21, Sept. 28, 1988, 102 Stat. 1846; Pub. L. 101–650, title III, § 321, Dec. 1, 1990, 104 Stat. 5117; Pub. L. 108–293, title VI, § 601(b), Aug. 9, 2004, 118 Stat. 1050; Pub. L. 114–120, title III, § 306(b)(3), Feb. 8, 2016, 130 Stat. 55; Pub. L. 115–282, title VIII, § 832, Dec. 4, 2018, 132 Stat. 4316.)
§ 500.
Deflection of current; liability to riparian owners

Whenever complaint shall be made to the Secretary of the Army that by reason of the placing in any navigable waters of the United States of any bridge pier or abutment, the current of such waters has been so deflected from its natural course as to cause by producing caving of banks or otherwise serious damage or danger to property, it shall be his duty to make inquiry, and if it shall be ascertained that the complaint is well founded, he shall cause the owners or persons operating such bridge to repair such damage or prevent such danger to property by such means as he shall indicate and within such time as he may name, and in default thereof the owners or persons operating such bridge shall be liable in any court of competent jurisdiction to the persons injured in a sum double the amount of said injury: Provided, however, That nothing herein contained shall be construed so as to affect any rights of action which may have existed prior to August 11, 1888.

(Aug. 11, 1888, ch. 860, § 2, 25 Stat. 423; July 26, 1947, ch. 343, title II, § 205(a), 61 Stat 501.)
§ 501.
Omitted
§ 502.
Alteration, removal, or repair of bridge or accessory obstructions to navigation
(a)
Criminal penalties for violation; alteration or removal requirements; notice and hearing; specification of changes; time for compliance; notice to United States attorney; misdemeanor; fine; new offenses

Whenever the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating shall have good reason to believe that any railroad or other bridge over any of the navigable waterways of the United States is an unreasonable obstruction to the free navigation of such waters on account of insufficient height, width of span, or otherwise, or where there is difficulty in passing the draw opening or the draw span of such bridge by rafts, steamboats, or other water craft, it shall be the duty of the said Secretary, first giving the parties reasonable opportunity to be heard, to give notice to the persons or corporations owning or controlling such bridge so to alter the same as to render navigation through or under it reasonably free, easy, and unobstructed; and in giving such notice he shall specify the changes that are required to be made, and shall prescribe in each case a reasonable time in which to make them. If at the end of such time the alteration has not been made, the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating shall forthwith notify the United States attorney for the district in which such bridge is situated, to the end that the criminal proceedings hereinafter in this section mentioned may be taken. If the persons, corporation, or association owning or controlling any railroad or other bridge shall, after receiving notice to that effect, as hereinbefore required, from the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating and within the time prescribed by him willfully fail or refuse to remove the same or to comply with the lawful order of the Secretary of the Army in the premises, such persons, corporation, or association shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $5,000, and every month such persons, corporation, or association shall remain in default in respect to the removal or alteration of such bridge shall be deemed a new offense, and subject the persons, corporation, or association so offending to the penalties above prescribed.

(b)
Proper repair requirement

No owner or operator of any bridge, drawbridge, or causeway shall endanger, unreasonably obstruct, or make hazardous the free navigation of any navigable water of the United States by reason of the failure to keep the bridge, drawbridge, or causeway and any accessory works in proper repair.

(c)
Civil penalties for violation; separate offenses; notice and hearing; assessment, collection, and remission; civil actions

Whoever violates any provision of this section, or any order issued under this section, shall be liable to a civil penalty of not more than $5,000 for a violation occurring in 2004; $10,000 for a violation occurring in 2005; $15,000 for a violation occurring in 2006; $20,000 for a violation occurring in 2007; and $25,000 for a violation occurring in 2008 and any year thereafter. Each day a violation continues shall be deemed a separate offense. No penalty may be assessed under this subsection until the person charged is given notice and an opportunity for a hearing on the charge. The Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating may assess and collect any civil penalty incurred under this subsection and, in his discretion, may remit, mitigate, or compromise any penalty until the matter is referred to the Attorney General. If a person against whom a civil penalty is assessed under this subsection fails to pay that penalty, an action may be commenced in the district court of the United States for any district in which the violation occurs for such penalty.

(Mar. 3, 1899, ch. 425, § 18, 30 Stat. 1153; Mar. 3, 1911, ch. 231, § 291, 36 Stat. 1167; Jan. 31, 1928, ch. 14, § 1, 45 Stat. 54; June 25, 1948, ch. 646, §§ 1, 39, 62 Stat. 909, 992; Pub. L. 97–322, title I, § 108(b), Oct. 15, 1982, 96 Stat. 1583; Pub. L. 108–293, title VI, § 601(c), Aug. 9, 2004, 118 Stat. 1050; Pub. L. 114–120, title III, § 306(b)(1)(B), Feb. 8, 2016, 130 Stat. 55.)
§ 503 to 507.
Repealed. Pub. L. 100–17, title I, § 135(d), Apr. 2, 1987, 101 Stat. 174
§ 508.
Amount of tolls

Tolls for passage or transit over any bridge constructed under the authority of the Act of March 23, 1906, commonly known as the “Bridge Act of 1906”, the General Bridge Act of 1946 [33 U.S.C. 525 et seq.], and the International Bridge Act of 1972 [33 U.S.C. 535 et seq.] shall be just and reasonable.

(Pub. L. 100–17, title I, § 135(i), Apr. 2, 1987, 101 Stat. 174.)