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St. Lucie Lock closed until March for major maintenance, repairs

Closure will affect vessels planning to cross full length of Okeechobee Waterway
St. Lucie Lock, drone view
Posted at 11:29 AM, Jan 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-04 18:24:27-05

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — The Army Corps of Engineers began large-scale planned maintenance of the St. Lucie Lock in Martin County on Tuesday, impacting some boaters for months.

Officials said maintenance is necessary to repair aging and damaged infrastructure, in addition to improving public and vessel safety.

Repairs will require the lock chamber to be drained for crews to perform inspections, replace corroded steel structures, paint, install new gate seals and clean components for the manatee protection system.

Local boaters and fishermen will still be able to access Lake Okeechobee.

However, the closure will affect vessels planning to cross the full length of the Okeechobee Waterway from east to west during this time.

About 3,350 vessels use the St. Lucie Lock each year, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.

The four other locks along the Okeechobee Waterway, Port Mayaca, Julian Keen, Jr., Ortona and W.P. Franklin, will remain open for normal operations from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week.

St. Lucie Lock and Dam Closed, December 2021

Officials said the three-month project will be the first total closure of the St. Lucie Lock in 10 years, and the first major maintenance of that structure in 26 years.

The project is expected to be completed no later than March 31 at a total cost of $4.7 million.

The St. Lucie Lock and Dam is located along the St. Lucie Canal, about 15.5 miles upstream of the intersection of the St. Lucie River and the Intracoastal Waterway.

The lock was built in 1941 for navigation and flood control purposes.