District To Activate Tampa Bypass Canal System Tonight to Help Prevent Flooding from Hurricane Hermine

News Release

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) will activate the Tampa Bypass Canal system tonight in response to heavy rains in the Tampa Bay area from Hurricane Hermine. This action will close the Hillsborough River to boaters, and boat barriers will be in place by approximately 8 p.m.

The Hillsborough River has reached an elevation of 25 feet above sea level, which triggers the Army Corps of Engineers activation level of the Lower Hillsborough Flood Detention (LHFDA) area. This involves redirecting the entire flow of the Hillsborough River away from the City of Temple Terrace and City or Tampa into the LHFDA, which will assist with flooding from the Hillsborough River in Temple Terrace and the City of Tampa.

District staff will redirect the flow of the river by closing the S-155 structure. The S-155 structure is located north of Morris Bridge Road and east of I-75 and can be seen from I-75 as you cross the Hillsborough River. As a result of activating the LHFDA, the Trout Creek Park and Nature's Classroom will be closed. Again, the Upper Hillsborough River will be closed to boat traffic.

The District has been in contact with Hillsborough County Parks and Recreation, the City of Tampa, Tampa Bay Water and the Hillsborough County Emergency Operations Center and the City of Temple Terrace to notify them of this action.

The Tampa Bypass Canal system was constructed in response to massive flooding caused by Hurricane Donna in 1960. The system is designed to divert flood waters from the Hillsborough River into the 16,000-acre LHFDA. As the detention area fills with water from the river and the surrounding 450-square-mile area, the flows then enter the Tampa Bypass Canal and are safely diverted to McKay Bay, bypassing the cities of Temple Terrace and Tampa.

The system is made up of five flood control structures located along the 15.7-mile canal. In addition to providing flood control, the Tampa Bypass Canal also serves as a water supply source to help meet the drinking water needs of the Tampa Bay area.