The boating Public should be aware that the U.S. Army Core of Engineers has scheduled maintenance of the Ortona Lock, on the Okeechobee Waterway in Moore Haven. Maintenance, which will affect boating access, is projected to take place over approximately the next seven months.
Southwest Florida Marine Industries Association president, Hans Wilson, contacted the Army Corp to inquire about the schedule and the timing of the lock maintenance. Below is the response from the Army Core’s John Campbell. Our thanks to the Army Corp for a quick response.
“The timing of the project has more to do with the funding we received from Congress and some limitations regarding the time we have for those funds to be spent. Typically, funds that Congress appropriates for operations and maintenance activities have a one-year shelf life before they must be committed through an obligation. These particular funds were appropriated for use in fiscal year 2015, which ended SEP 30.
The Corps committed and obligated those funds through a contract for work that we signed just before the end of the federal fiscal year. The contract allows seven months to complete the work, assuming no issues.
We have had success with a similar locking schedule at Port Canaveral while performing similar repairs. The traffic count at Canaveral is greater than what we see at Ortona. Locking activities will occur three times daily in the morning, at mid-day, and in the evening. While not a perfect solution for everyone, this schedule allows the Corps to complete necessary work on the infrastructure while making it possible for boaters to continue using the facility.
I hope this information is helpful. Please contact me if I can be of further assistance. Best wishes for a wonderful New Year!”
John H Campbell
Public Affairs Specialist
Jacksonville District, US Army Corps of Engineers