It’s taken nearly two decades, but the Herbert Hoover Dike rehabilitation project is complete. The rehabilitation project started four presidents ago, in 2005.
To the people living around the lake, its completion means protecting their lives and livelihood.
The snip of scissors marked the completion of repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike.
“This construction project began this monumental undertaking all the way back in 2005,” said Col. James L. Booth, with the US Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District.
18 years and $1.5 billion later, people in countless lake-side communities are sleeping better at night.
“It means safety. It means peace of mind. It’s calming for us,” said Karson Turner, a Hendry County commissioner.
“The goal of the project is to protect human life while reducing the risks of impact to the way of life, the economy and the environment, and the communities around the lake,” said Booth.
Built in the 1930s, the dike came to be after hurricanes in the late 20s caused the lake to flood, killing thousands of people. Since then, actions taken include installing a cutoff wall along the southwest part of the dike, removing and replacing 28 water control structures, and conducting various studies and technical reviews to ensure its integrity.
It all happened three years faster and $300 million cheaper than expected.
“Another game changer associated with the completion of the project has been our opportunity to reevaluate the way we operate the lake in anticipation of completion to construction to herbert hoover dike and the additional flexibility that it would provide,” Booth said.
The dike itself can’t fix our water quality issues, but its rebuilding allowed the Corps to reevaluate how the lake operates, which is good news for those who rely on it.
“For us in Southwest Florida, it means another tool in the toolbox for managers to be able to manage water better through the LOSOM plan. So we see less discharges and ultimately less impact negative impact on our community,” said Capt. Chris Wittman, with Captains for Clean Water.
Balancing resources to mutually benefit all the different communities is no easy task, but the Army Corps of Engineers feels confident this milestone puts us on the right track.