As 2016 turns into 2017, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District continues the task of rehabilitating the Herbert Hoover Dike in south Florida.
The highlight of 2016 was approval of a dam safety modification report in August. Approval of the report provided Jacksonville District with a definitive path for completion of the rehabilitation program in the mid-2020s.
“The intent of the study that produced the report was to identify the risks around the dike and develop structural and non-structural options for mitigation,” said Mike Rogalski, Jacksonville District’s program manager for Herbert Hoover Dike rehabilitation. “We conducted this study while we continued construction of features to reduce the risk to the dike.”
The dam safety modification report calls for installation of additional seepage barrier, commonly known as a partial cutoff wall, in the dike. It also recommends construction of floodwalls at two water control structures, and embankment armoring at a bridge on the northwest side of the lake.
Since 2001, the Corps has invested more than $870 million in the rehabilitation. That investment has paid for installation of 21.4 miles of cutoff wall between Port Mayaca and Belle Glade on the southeast side of the Lake Okeechobee.
“By the end of 2016, we’ve taken action on 24 of the 32 structures that need to be addressed,” said Rogalski. “Over the next three years, we plan to award contracts to replace five other structures, and we plan to seal off three structures no longer in use near the city of Okeechobee.”
According to the Corps, the remaining construction at the dike will cost a little more than $800 million. Based on funding projections in the coming years, the Corps estimates that rehabilitation of the dike could be completed by the mid-2020s, perhaps in the year 2025.