Thursday, December 21, 2017
Media contact: Karen Parker, 386-754-1294
Beginning Jan. 2, 2018, public access will be temporarily closed on select roads and dikes of the Big Bend Wildlife Management Area’s Hickory Mound Unit due to construction to repair the Hickory Mound Impoundment area. This area in Taylor County was damaged during Hurricane Hermine in September 2016.
To ensure public safety and secure the construction site during the multi-month repair project, all public access – including vehicles, bicycles, ATVs and access on foot – will be prohibited on those portions of Cow Creek Grade, Coker Road and associated dikes south of Swartz Tram. The interior of Hickory Mound Impoundment (area inside the dike roads) will remain open only to people willing to access the area on foot from Swartz Tram, which will remain open to public access. Area users should exercise caution and not block gates or roadways.
When heavy truck traffic begins to use Swartz Tram between Coker Road and Cow Creek Grade to complete repairs to the west portion of the dike, that section of Swartz Tram also will be temporarily closed to public vehicular travel for safety reasons. This closure will allow the trucks clear passage on this narrow roadway and will speed up the repair process. Access on Swartz Tram by foot will continue to be allowed. While the exact date of the Swartz Tram closure is not known, it is expected to begin sometime in late January to mid-February.
In addition, there will be heavy truck traffic along the section of Cow Creek Grade north of Swartz Tram during construction. This portion of Cow Creek Grade is not being closed to the public during construction because it is a primary access road to the larger Hickory Mound Unit. However, the public is asked to use extra caution when driving on this section of road.
Construction will include repairs to four concrete box culverts, installing retaining walls at each of the culverts to reduce future erosion, and the delivery and spreading of approximately 10,052 tons of road base and fill to return the dike to its engineered 6-foot elevation.
The repairs are expected to be completed in April; however, this is subject to weather and other unforeseen issues. Continue to check MyFWC.com/Notices for updates on the construction.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) plans to reopen this popular recreational area to the public as soon as possible after repairs are complete.
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