Bridges Across the Okeechobee Waterway
Depending on the route across Lake Okeechobee that you choose, there are 25 or 26 bridges crossing the Okeechobee Waterway between the junctions with the AICW and the GICW. One additional bridge will be encountered if headed out into the Gulf of Mexico.
Fifteen of these bridges are considered high level fixed bridges with the remaining 10 or 11 being 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 and Restrictions
Okeechobee Waterway Bridges (SM)
|Mile Marker (SM)||Bridge||Charted Vert. Clear.||Schedule||Restrictions||VHF|
|* 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.
|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’||M-F (except Fed. Holidays) from 0700-1900 opens on the Hr. & 1/2 Hr. On weekends and Federal Holidays from 0800 to 1800 the draw need open only on the hour and every 20 minutes thereafter. Other times on demand.||Closed M-F (except Fed. Holidays), from 0730 to 0900 and 1600 to 1730, except at 0815 and 1645. When the adjacent railway bridge is in the closed position at the time of a scheduled opening the draw need not open, but it must then open immediately upon opening of the railroad bridge to pass all accumulated vessels. Exempt vessels shall be passed at any time.||09|
|9.5||Palm City Bridge||54’||Fixed Bridge||--|
|10.9||Veterans Memorial Bridge||55’||Fixed Bridge||--|
|14.0||I-95 Bridges||56’||Fixed Bridge||Twin Spans||--|
|14.4||Thomas B. Manual Bridge||55’||Fixed Bridge||Twin Spans||--|
|17.1||SW 96th Street/County Road 76A Bridge||** 56’||Fixed Bridge||--|
|28.4||Big John Monahan Bridge||** 55’||Fixed Bridge||Twin Spans||--|
|28.5||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||09|
|38.8||Port Mayaca Highway Bridge||** 55’||Fixed Bridge||--|
|60.7||Torry Island Swing Bridge (Route #2)||*** 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. (Route #2 - Rim Route)||09|
|78.3||Moore Haven RR Swing Bridge||5’||Opens on Demand||Need not be opened from 2200 - 0600.||09|
|78.4||Moore Haven Highway Bridges||55’||Fixed Bridge||Twin Spans||--|
|102.9||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|
|108.1||Fort Denaud Swing Bridge||9’||Opens on Demand 0600-2200||Closed 2200 - 0600 except with 3 hours notice.||09|
|116.5||Alva Bascule Bridge||23’||Opens on Demand 0600-2200||Closed 2200 - 0600 except with 3 hours notice.||09|
|126.2||Route 31/W. Piggott Bascule Bridge||27’||Opens on Demand 0600-2200||Closed 2200 - 0600 except with 3 hours notice.||09|
|128.9||I-75 Bridges||55’||Fixed Bridge||Twin Spans||--|
|129.9||† SCL RR Bascule Bridge||5’||Normally Open||Closes for RR Traffic||09|
|134.4||Thomas Edison Bridges||56’||Fixed Bridge||Twin Spans||--|
|135.1||Caloosahatchee Bridge||55’||Fixed Bridge||--|
|138.6||Mid Point Memorial Bridge||55’||Fixed Bridge||--|
|142.0||Cape Coral Bridges||55’||Fixed Bridge||Twin Spans||--|
|156.9||Sanibel Causeway Bridge||70’||Fixed Bridge. "A" Span||--|
The limiting vertical clearance of the Okeechobee Waterway is 49’± at the Port Mayaca RR Lift Bridge.
The Port Mayaca RR Lift Bridge
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 tide to squeeze a possible few extra feet under the bridge.
However, lower canal water levels may often present an opportunity! Any time that the St. Lucie Canal is below its normal pool level of 14.5’; the result will be an equal increase in vertical clearances at all affected bridges.
Still not enough? If your MHH is still a little too much to make it under the Port Mayaca RR Lift 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 well on Cats or some other broad beamed vessels, the majority of mono-hulled sailboats can benefit with a significant MHH reduction. With every boat having their own characteristics, results differ. For more information or reservations, contact the Indiantown Marina to discuss your requirements.