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Lake Manatee Dam Rehabilitation Project is a Go


BRADENTON -- The Lake Manatee Dam is approaching 50 years old, and recent inspections reflect more damage then was previously thought after leaks were discovered earlier this year. The repair cost could reach $15 million on just the first phase, and it is crucial that the first segment of the work is finished before summer rains fall. 

It was during an annual inspection that the initial concerns were discovered, and further examination revealed even deeper problems.

Coring tests identified voids under the downstream spillway, and loose soils near the walls; classifying the dam as "stressed." To minimize problematic effects, the county lowered the lake from 40 feet, to 38 feet.

Additional field work and core samples revealed design structures not acceptable under today's standards.  

Repair plans have been broken into Phase 1-A, and Phase 1-B. Phase 1-A will reestablish seepage control and a new cutoff wall. The cutoff wall will be extended an additional 750 feet south and 1,700 feet north. Phase 1-A needs to be completed before the summer rains get heavy, and will cost $8.6 million. 

Phase 1-B includes a new cutoff wall and will be extended to near the dam abutments. Phase 1-B is lower priority and can be done during the rainy season, at a cost of $5.5 million; add the engineering cost to both projects and the projects comes to, $14,091,190. 

The emergency agreement approved at Thursday's BOCC Land Use meeting was executed by Manatee County Administrator Ed Hunzeker.

BOCC members also approved Budget Amendment B-14-049, appropriating $15,100,000 for phase 1-A and 1-B of the project. 

Funds for the project will come from Utility Systems Reserves, and long-term financing for the project will be considered in the five-year Capital Improvement Program as part of the upcoming budget.

Commissioner DiSabatino questioned the need to invoke the Emergency Agreement (making it a no bid contract). County Attorney Mickey Palmer told DiSabatino that because of the rain and the safety issues, "It makes this a perfectly suitable emergency example."

The Tampa-based company doing the work is Hayward Baker, which has experience with the issues facing the dam. 

Work for Phase 1-A is scheduled to be done in June of 2014, and sometime in October of this year for Phase 1-B. 

Aerial view of Lake Manatee from NOAA


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