(KFVS) - A contractor for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is offering temporary ferry service to help farmers with bypassing work zone lane restrictions on the KY 56/IL Route 13 Ohio River "Shawneetown" Bridge.
The bridge is undergoing a deck replacement project and the work zone includes a 10-foot load width restriction, which is expected to continue until late September. The restriction prohibits most farm equipment from using the bridge during the construction.
According to Keith Todd with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, it's been 150 years since a ferry service was offered. It ended in 1956 with the construction of the Shawneetown Bridge.
KYTC Chief District 2 Chief Engineer Kevin McClearn says the ferryboat will help an estimated 40 farmers move their equipment during a critical period of crop season.
"The ferry will be available for farmers from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. That will leave the landings in Kentucky and Illinois clear on weekends for use exclusively by fishermen and boaters," McClearn said.
The ferry is being operated by Lonnie Lewis, Inc., operator of the Cave-In-Rock Ferry. It can haul farm equipment that is up to 18 feet wide and nearly 80 feet long between Kentucky and Illinois.
Due to high water on the Ohio, the ferry is unable to use the main Shawneetown landing. It is initially operating from a landing below Bunge Grain on the Illinois side.
Farmers who have large farming equipment should contact the ferry direct at 618-313-2314 to determine if special arrangements will be required. It will also allow the ferry to prepare for arriving loads and help reduce loading and crossing time.