DORENA, MO (KFVS) - When it ties up at the end of regular service today, the Dorena-Hickman Ferry expects to halt operation for six weeks. The ferry will be closed temporarily to allow the boat to be sent to a shipyard in St. Louis where new engines will be installed. The nearly $200,000 engine replacement project funded with a federal grant is to improve the reliability of the ferry operation.
According to Captain Ed Floyd, the ferry will be pushed to St. Louis as part of a tow headed upstream. The tow boat is expected to arrive at the Hickman Landing sometime around Noon Thursday. When the ferry ties up at the end of regular crossings today, Floyd and his crew will immediately turn their efforts to preparing the boat for the trip.
"We have a lot of regular customers who depend on us to save fuel and driving time that's required to travel between Kentucky and Missouri when we aren't in service," Captain Floyd said. "We know they depend on us because they tell us. We take that responsibility very seriously and will try to get the ferry back in service as quickly as possible once the engine replacement project is complete."
Officials say during the six weeks the ferry is expected to remain out of operation, a mile and a half crossing of the Mississippi River from Missouri to Kentucky becomes an 85 mile drive around via the Mississippi and Ohio River bridges at Cairo, IL. A detour via the I-155 Mississippi River Bridge at Dyersburg, TN, requires a 127 mile trip by highway.
Captain Floyd expects the Dorena-Hickman Ferry to be closed until about the first of the year for the engine replacement work. The shipyard in St. Louis should provide several days advance notice when the ferryboat is ready to head back downstream to return to normal service.
While Floyd and his crew will be getting some time off during the six week shutdown, he doesn't plan to take a vacation. Whenever possible, he'll be at the shipyard to help personally supervise the refitting of the ferry.
The Dorena-Hickman Ferry connects KY 1354 at Hickman, Kentucky, with Missouri Route A and Route 77 near Dorena, Missouri. Operation of the ferry is funded jointly by Kentucky and Missouri, as well as other local and regional government agencies.
For more info on the Dorena-Hickman Ferry and a schedule of operating hours go visit Dorena-Hickman Ferryboat. Motorists can also check on the ferry's operating status by calling (731) 693-0210.