There are 25 or 26 bridges that cross the Okeechobee Waterway depending on the route chosen and your ultimate destination. Fifteen are high level fixed bridges and the remaining 10 or 11 are operating bridges.
In addition to the bridges, there are also approximately 25 overhead cable crossings on the Okeechobee Waterway. The lowest is 3.1 NM east of the Port Mayaca RR Lift Bridge with an authorized clearance of 56’.
The high level fixed bridges offer vertical clearances of 54’ or greater. The operating bridges offer closed vertical clearances of between 5’ and 27’.
Fortunately, many of the low level operating bridges are either railroad bridges that are normally open (except in the event of a train crossing) or others which open on demand with some restrictions.
A complete listing of all bridges along with their locations, vertical clearances, and operating restrictions is shown below. This file is available for download for your personal and private use.
Okeechobee Waterway Bridges (SM)
|* Please Note: Limiting Vertical Clearance for the Waterway.
** Based on 14.5’ water level.
*** Based on 12.56’ water level.
† Above 55’ vertical clearance, the bascule span overhangs the channel.
|(NM) Marker||Bridge||Charted Vert. Clear.||Schedule||Restrictions||VHF|
|3.4||Evans Crary||65’||Fixed Bridge||--|
|7.3||New Roosevelt Bridge||65’||Fixed Bridge||--|
|7.4||Brit Point RR Bascule Bridge||7’||Normally Open||Closes for RR Traffic||09|
|7.5||Old Roosevelt Bascule Bridge||14’||The draw shall open between 0700 - 1800 M-F on the hour and ½ hour except Federal holidays. On weekends and Federal holidays the draw shall open between 0800 - 1800 on the hour and every 20 minutes thereafter. Other times on demand.||Closed M-F 0730 - 0900 & 1600 - 1730 except openings at 0815 and 1645. Only opens if Brit Point RR bridge is open.||09|
|9.6||Palm City Bridge||54’||Fixed Bridge||--|
|10.9||Indian Street Bridge||55’||Fixed Bridge||--|
|14.0||I-95 Bridges||56’||Fixed Bridge||Twin Spans||--|
|14.3||Thomas B. Manual Bridge||55’||Fixed Bridge||Twin Spans||--|
|17.1||SW 96th Street/County Road 76A Bridge||** 56’||Fixed Bridge||--|
|28.2||Big John Monahan Bridge||** 55’||Fixed Bridge||--|
|28.3||Indiantown RR Swing Bridge||** 7’||Opens on Demand 0600-2200||Closed from 2200 - 0600 except with 3 hours notice.||09|
|38.0||Port Mayaca RR Lift Bridge||** 7’||Normally Open||* 49’± Open (Limiting Vertical Clearance)||09|
|38.8||Port Mayaca Highway Bridge||** 55’||Fixed Bridge||--|
|60.7||Torry Island Swing Bridge||*** 11’||The draw shall open on demand between 0700 - 1800 M-Thu. and 0700 to 1900 Fri, Sat, and Sun.||Closed at all other times. (Rim Route)||09|
|78.3||Moore Haven RR Swing Bridge||5’||Opens on Demand||Need not be opened from 2200 - 0600.||09|
|78.5||Moore Haven Highway Bridges||55’||Fixed Bridge||Twin Spans||--|
|102.5||La Belle Bascule Bridge||28’||Opens on Demand 0600-2200||Closed M-F 0700 - 0900 & 1600 - 1800. Closed 2200-0600 except with 3 hours notice.||09|
|107.8||Fort Denaud Swing Bridge||9’||Opens on Demand 0600-2200||Closed 2200 - 0600 except with 3 hours notice.||09|
|115.3||Alva Bascule Bridge||23’||Opens on Demand 0600-2200||Closed 2200 - 0600 except with 3 hours notice.||09|
|125.7||Route 31/W. Piggott Bascule Bridge||27’||Opens on Demand 0600-2200||Closed 2200 - 0600 except with 3 hours notice.||09|
|128.6||I-75 Bridges||55’||Fixed Bridge||Twin Spans||--|
|129.6||†SCL RR Bascule Bridge||5’||Normally Open||Closes for RR Traffic||09|
|134.0||Thomas Edison Bridges||56’||Fixed Bridge||Twin Spans||--|
|134.6||Caloosahatchee Bridge||55’||Fixed Bridge||--|
|138.3||Mid Point Memorial Bridge||55’||Fixed Bridge||--|
|141.6||Cape Coral Bridges||55’||Fixed Bridge||Twin Spans||--|
|150.9||Sanibel Causeway Bridge||70’||Fixed Bridge. "A" Span||--|
Caution: The limiting vertical clearance of the waterway is 49’± at the Port Mayaca RR Lift Bridge.
This list is believed to be accurate as of January 2015. If any errors or omissions are noted, please e-mail us at with any corrections or recommendations.
One of the biggest hurdles for sailboats using the Okeechobee Waterway is the Port Mayaca RR Bridges’ 49’± vertical clearance. Unfortunately, with this portion of the waterway being non-tidal that means there is no waiting for low water to squeeze a possible few extra feet under the bridge.
However, low water levels in Lake Okeechobee will often present an opportunity! As an example, on a recent day the Lake Okeechobee water level was 12.14’. This means the St. Lucie Canal is also typically slightly below its normal pool level as well, resulting in an increase of the vertical clearance to 51.28’.
Still not enough? If your MHH is still a little too much to make it under the bridge, all is not lost. Bring in the "Okeechobee Limbo." Simply put, a crew out of the Indiantown Marina will meet your boat at the bridge and by use of plastic 50 gallon drums lined up along your rail and filled with water, list your vessel enough to pass under the Port Mayaca RR Bridge. Once through, the drums are emptied and removed from your boat and you are on your way. The whole process generally takes less than an hour.
While this method will not work on some broad beamed vessels, the majority of sailboats can benefit with a MHH reduction of up to 5 or 6 feet. With every boat having their own characteristics, results differ. For more information or reservations, contact the Indiantown Marina to discuss your requirements.
The USACE has announced proposed changes to the operating hours of the (5) locks along the Okeechobee Waterway. USACE Official Notice
It is important to read this carefully and let your voices be heard; for or against this change. Do not be like so many who complain about the results when they won’t take the time to VOTE!