1625-0109 Stat/Authority

USCODE-2011-title33-chap11-subchapI-sec499.pdf

Drawbridge Operation Regulations

1625-0109 Stat/Authority

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§ 496

TITLE 33—NAVIGATION AND NAVIGABLE WATERS
CODIFICATION

The words ‘‘district court’’ were substituted for ‘‘circuit court,’’ upon incorporation into the Code, the Circuit Courts being abolished by act Mar. 3, 1911, and
their powers and duties transferred to the district
courts by section 291 of that act.
AMENDMENTS
2004—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 108–293 substituted ‘‘$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’’ for ‘‘$1,000’’.
1983—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 97–449 substituted ‘‘Secretary of Transportation’’ for ‘‘Secretary of War’’ wherever appearing. See Transfer of Functions note below.
1982—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 97–322, § 108(c)(1)–(3), designated existing provisions as subsec. (a), provided for
punishment of persons who shall ‘‘willfully’’ fail to
comply with lawful orders, and struck out ‘‘shall be
deemed guilty of a violation of said sections, and any
persons who shall be guilty of a violation of said sections’’ after ‘‘sections 491 to 498 of this title,’’.
Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 97–322, § 108(c)(4), added subsec.
(b).
TRANSFER OF FUNCTIONS
Functions, powers, and duties of Secretary of the
Army [formerly War] and other offices and officers of
Department the Army [formerly War] under this section to extent that they relate generally to location
and clearances of bridges and causeways in navigable
waters of United States transferred to and vested in
Secretary of Transportation by Pub. L. 89–670,
§ 6(g)(6)(B), Oct. 15, 1966, 80 Stat. 941. Pub. L. 97–449
amended this section to reflect transfer made by section 6(g)(6)(B) of Pub. L. 89–670, and repealed section
6(g)(6)(B).

§ 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
498 of this title, shall be construed to import
both the singular and the plural, as the case demands, and shall include municipalities, quasimunicipal 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 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.

Page 92

(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
Section, act June 10, 1930, ch. 441, § 17, 46 Stat. 552,
provided that, in the case of bridges authorized prior to
June 10, 1930, by Acts of Congress, where Congress has
specifically reserved the right to regulate tolls, such
bridges, with respect to regulation of all tolls, be subject to sections 491 to 498 of this title.

§ 498b. Repealed. Pub. L. 100–17, title I, § 135(c),
Apr. 2, 1987, 101 Stat. 174
Section, act June 27, 1930, ch. 640, § 1, 46 Stat. 821, provided that, in case of any bridge authorized prior to
Mar. 23, 1906, by Act of Congress, where Congress has
specifically reserved the right to alter, amend, or repeal such Act, regulation of all tolls be subject to sections 491 to 498 of this title.

§ 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 Transportation 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 Transportation, 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.

Page 93

TITLE 33—NAVIGATION AND NAVIGABLE WATERS

(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 Transportation 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) of 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. 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 Transportation 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.
(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.)
CODIFICATION
The last proviso of subsec. (a) of this section was
from a part of section 6 of act June 13, 1902, which reads
as follows: ‘‘Any regulations heretofore or hereafter
prescribed by the Secretary of War in pursuance of the
fourth and fifth sections of the river and harbor Act of
August eighteenth, eighteen hundred and ninety-four
[this section and section 1 of this title], and any regulations hereafter prescribed in pursuance of the aforesaid
section four as amended by section eleven of this Act
[section 1 of this title], may be enforced as provided in
section seventeen of the river and harbor Act of March
third, eighteen hundred and ninety-nine [section 413 of
this title], the provisions whereof are hereby made applicable to the said regulations.’’
The last paragraph of section 1 of this title is also
from a part of section 6 of act June 13, 1902.
Except for the last proviso of subsec. (a), this section
was from act Aug. 18, 1894.

§ 500

1988—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 100–448 inserted at end ‘‘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.’’
1983—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 97–449 substituted ‘‘Secretary of Transportation’’ for ‘‘Secretary of War’’ wherever appearing. See Transfer of Functions note below.
1982—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 97–322, § 108(a)(1)–(4), designated existing provisions as subsec. (a); struck out
from second sentence after ‘‘boats,’’ the clause ‘‘or who
shall unreasonably delay the opening of said draw after
reasonable signal shall have been given,’’; substituted
in first proviso ‘‘subsection’’ for ‘‘section’’; and in second proviso provided for punishment of ‘‘willful’’ violation of rules and regulations.
Subsecs. (b), (c). Pub. L. 97–322, § 108(a)(5), added subsecs. (b) and (c).
CHANGE OF NAME
‘‘Magistrate judge’’ substituted in text for ‘‘magistrate’’ pursuant to section 321 of Pub. L. 101–650, set
out as a note under section 631 of Title 28, Judiciary
and Judicial Procedure. Previously, ‘‘magistrate’’ substituted for ‘‘commissioner’’ pursuant to Pub. L. 90–578.
See chapter 43 (§ 631 et seq.) of Title 28.
TRANSFER OF FUNCTIONS
Section 6(g)(2) of Pub. L. 89–670 transferred functions,
powers, and duties of Secretary of the Army [formerly
War] and other officers and offices of Department of
the Army [formerly War] relating to drawbridge operating regulations under this section to Secretary of
Transportation. Pub. L. 97–449 amended this section to
reflect transfer made by section 6(g)(2) of Pub. L.
89–670, and repealed section 6(g)(2).

§ 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.)
CODIFICATION

AMENDMENTS

Section was from the River and Harbor Appropriation
Act of 1888.

2004—Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 108–293 substituted ‘‘$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’’ for ‘‘$1,000’’.

Department of War designated Department of the
Army and title of Secretary of War changed to Secretary of the Army by section 205(a) of act July 26, 1947,
ch. 343, title II, 61 Stat. 501. Section 205(a) of act July

CHANGE OF NAME


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