In early 2008, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) contracted Taylor Engineering to develop an emergency solution for low water levels in Lake Okeechobee. The lack of water depth created forces capable of undermining S-65E, the water control structure located at the southern end of the Kissimmee River. Such a condition could cause structural failure and trigger severe flooding to upstream and downstream residential and agricultural properties.Taylor Engineering, its subconsultant Hartman Engineering, the SFWMD, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers worked in concert to conceive a downstream structure — a low-elevation sheet pile weir — to reduce the Kissimmee River’s channel width and allow S-65E to discharge as designed. The project included development of design alternatives, hydraulic design, structural design, development of construction drawings and specifications, construction observation/engineering services, and permit support.The final, award-winning design alternative consists of a 200-foot wide underwater weir approximately 4,000 ft downstream of the S-65E structure. Eight connected cellular sheet pile structures guide the flow over the weir. A 200-foot x 90-foot x 8-foot thick concrete apron provides erosion protection in the most turbulent area. Riprap placed along the canal bottom several hundred feet upstream and downstream of the structure provides additional erosion and scour protection.An aggressive design, hydraulic and structural analysis, construction document preparation, and bidding schedule allowed only two and a half months from Taylor Engineering’s notice to proceed to start of construction, and four months to complete construction — a seemingly impossible task given this type of project would normally take 24 months to design and build.Two weeks after project completion, Tropical Storm Fay hit Florida. The storm produced record level flows that could have caused catastrophic damages to the counties surrounding Lake Okeechobee. For its accelerated response, Taylor Engineering received one of the “2009 Grand Engineering Excellence Awards” from the Florida Institute of Consulting Engineers.