Construction Equipment Global
A man, Ivey Spivey, in helmet and vest in the sunset
Ivey Spivey is one of hundreds of workers on-site in Florida building the C-43 water reservoir.

Restoring the Everglades

A point of pride for a local professional

Restoring the Everglades

The building of a huge water reservoir in the Everglades is a job unlike any other. Not only because of what it will mean to millions of Floridians but also due to its sheer magnitude and complex working conditions. Ivey Spivey from Lane Construction-Salini Impregilo is one of several hundred people working tirelessly every day to get it done.

Over one hundred years’ worth of residential and agricultural development in South Florida has had an adverse impact on the Caloosahatchee Estuary. The construction of the C-43 reservoir is underway in order to restore the region’s ecosystem, which is vital to the well-being of the state’s human and wildlife population. Amongst other things, the project consists of the construction of an earthen embankment dam with a perimeter of approximately 26.2 kilometers (ca 163 miles) and a separator dam of 4.5 kilometers (ca 28 miles) in length, as well as 18 water control structures.

A man talks with a man sitting in a Volvo CE excavator
Ivey Spivey makes sure that the daily amount of earthmoving is done.

Ivey Spivey is one of the many people currently working on the project. As Senior Superintendent he mainly manages multiple crews on-site, making sure that the job gets done and the daily expected amount of material is being moved. However, at times he works as an operator, which was also his first profession. Ivey Spivey knew early on that the business of construction would come to play a big part in his life. 

“I started out on my family’s farm in southern Georgia and then I went to trade school to get my foot in the door. Now I’ve been working in construction for 35 years and feel I’ve got a good system down. I enjoy it so much it doesn’t even feel like work, more like a hobby,” he says and mentions that jobs have taken him all over the U.S., including Alaska. 

The C-43 reservoir work site is scattered with Volvo equipment, which is the key point for all heavy excavation and hauling and will eventually be deployed out on the dam and levy build. The equipment includes a mix of A45 articulated haulers and excavators, as well as several EC750E excavators and wheel loaders, with more on the way. 

Volvo CE excavator digging on site
Ivey Spivey works as a senior superintendent but started out as an operator. At times, he still takes a seat in the cab.

“Volvo is user friendly, very responsive and the machines are a great tool to have at your disposal when you’re working 10-hour days. It’s also important to be comfortable and the Volvo machines really are, even for a big guy like me. I’ve been running equipment for a long time and they’re at the top of their league,” he says. 

With a construction project this size, work tends to be on Ivey Spivey’s mind a lot. There are many things to consider, for example heavy storms such as hurricanes, but also working through both rainy and dry seasons and all the challenges that come with that. Planning and preparation go hand-in-hand in the construction industry, alongside safety and training – all important aspects in getting the job done. 

The construction of the reservoir will create the ability to provide freshwater to the vital Caloosahatchee Estuary, which will not only reinvigorate the ecosystem of the Everglades but also make a huge impact on the lives of the millions of people depending on it for their survival. Bonuses include boosts to the state’s economy and improvement of the residents’ quality of life. For someone like Ivey Spivey, whose entire immediate family lives in the area, being involved in the project is a point of pride. In fact, so is working with a diverse crew of both men and women and people of different nationalities.

“There’s never a dull moment out here. Even though there’s more than 300 people on-site, we all bond and work well together. I learn something new from my crew every day,” he concludes with a smile. 

A smiling man, Ivey Spivey
He grew up on a farm in Georgia. Ivey Spivey has now been in the construction business for 35 years.

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