The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District has announced restrictions on boat traffic at the Ortona Lock on the Okeechobee Waterway while a malfunctioning gate is repaired over the next three weeks.
The maximum allowable width for vessels traversing the lock will be limited to 24 feet while the repairs are ongoing. This is half of the 50-foot width normally allowed at the lock, which is located east of LaBelle on the Caloosahatchee River.
“The northeast gate in the chamber lock is not working, which restricts the width of the vessels that can go through the lock” said Rob Schnell, Assistant Chief of the Corps’ South Florida Operations Office. “Our crews will have to physically machine the part necessary to repair it. It’ll take a little time, but we expect the repair to be finished toward the end of the month.”
Ortona Lock was constructed in 1937 for navigation and flood control purposes. It is the second lock from the west on the 154-mile Okeechobee Waterway, which allows safe passage of vessels from the Gulf of Mexico at Fort Myers to the Atlantic Ocean near Stuart.
A Notice to Navigation has been issued on this subject. For more information on navigation notices concerning Ortona Lock or the rest of the Okeechobee Waterway, please visit the following website:
Release no. 13-034