SEBRING — A long-awaited project to dredge the channel between Lake Jackson and Little Lake Jackson could begin as early as next spring. Residents living near the two lakes say with the channel not being dredged, it’s difficult or impossible to navigate it during the dry season.
Robin Stublen, the Florida Department of Transportation spokesman, said the project cannot begin unless some utility lines are removed, but that’s expected to be completed earlier than scheduled.
The project is expected to cost about $300,000, he said. The work will include relocating some riprap to improve the slope of the channel for navigation, he said.
Earlier this month, Sebring City Council members approved allowing staff to request proposals from businesses that are interested in relocating utility lines under the U.S. 27 bridge over the channel.
At a meeting earlier this year, Sebring utility officials told the City Council the dredging would require relocation of an active 6-inch sanitary sewer force main and two abandoned lines.
The estimated cost for the city is around $200,000, utility officials say.
Since the force main is in the state’s right of way, the city has no standing to ask the state to pay for relocating it, officials said.
Residents of the area have said the navigation problems didn’t come about until 1998 when the state widened U.S. 27 and built a bridge in that area.