The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District is advising boaters on the Okeechobee Waterway that they could encounter delays as they navigate through Ortona Lock due to repairs.
The Corps has developed an alternate locking schedule that will be in effect during replacement of guide walls on either side of the lock. The schedule will be in effect when work obstructs the navigation channel or whenever divers are in the area. The repair work is expected to last through the rest of the summer.
“These adjustments are necessary to facilitate replacement of these aging guide walls east and west of the lock structure,” said Steve Dunham, chief of the Corps’ South Florida Operations Office, which has oversight of the facility. “We recognize this may cause some inconvenience to boaters, but it represents the best compromise to allow traffic to pass while still undertaking these necessary repairs.”
As necessary during the repair period, the Corps will operate the lock on the following alternate schedule:
• 7 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. Lock open
• 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Lock closed for repair work
• 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Lock open
• 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Lock closed for repair work
• 4:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Lock open
The alternate schedule above only applies Monday through Friday. The Corps will operate the lock on demand from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends and holidays, with last lockage beginning at 4:30 p.m.
Ortona Lock is located on the Caloosahatchee River in Glades County about 15 miles west of Moore Haven and about 40 miles east of Fort Myers. The Corps finished construction on the structure in 1937 as part of a project that created the Okeechobee Waterway, a 154-mile route that connects the Gulf of Mexico with the Atlantic Ocean. Ortona is one of five locks on the waterway, and one of six operated by the Corps’ Jacksonville District.
The Corps has issued a Notice to Navigation this subject. For more information on navigation notices concerning Ortona Lock or any other structures on the Okeechobee Waterway, please visit the following website: http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/Navigation/NoticestoNavigation.aspx
Release no. 16-036