Corps temporarily extends operating hours on Okeechobee Waterway navigation locks

JACKSONVILLE — As Tropical Storm Erika approaches Florida, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District is announcing it will temporarily extend operating hours at the five lock & dam structures on the Okeechobee Waterway.

A boat navigates through the St. Lucie Lock & Dam near Stuart. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is taking comments on a proposal to reduce operating hours of the St. Lucie Lock and four others on the Okeechobee Waterway.

A boat navigates through the St. Lucie Lock & Dam near Stuart.

The change takes effect today. The temporary operating hours are from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. through at least Sunday (Aug. 30). However, to protect lock operators, the Corps will suspend locking operations anytime lightning is observed within five miles of a facility, or if winds increase to 35 mph or above.
“We are extending the operating hours at these locks so boaters can move their vessels to safe harbor,” said Steve Dunham, chief of the Corps’ South Florida Operations Office in Clewiston. “However, this measure is temporary, and we’ll need to suspend all locking operations once the storm is within eight hours of making landfall.”

More information on Jacksonville District response actions can be found at www.saj.usace.army.mil.

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