Cave-in-Rock Ferry Will Remain Open
By Bill Hughes
CAVE-IN-ROCK - On the night it was to shut down indefinitely, officials say the Cave-in-Rock Ferry will now continue its daily service.

In a press release Tuesday night, ferry operator Lonnie Lewis said a tentative agreement has been reached with the state of Illinois and Commonwealth of Kentucky that will allow the ferry to continue operation.

The Cave-in-Rock Ferry connects Crittenden County, Kentucky with Hardin County, Illinois and has been in operation since the early 1800s, but Lewis said earlier in the day that Kentucky officials had refused his offer to sign a new two-year contract under the same terms as the previous deal.

Crittenden County Judge-Executive Perry Newcom told West Kentucky Star Tuesday evening that shutting down the ferry would have a huge impact on Crittenden County. 

Newcom said, "There's a great deal of employees that work in factories in and around Marion and surrounding counties that utilize the ferry to come to work every day, so I don't know that I could overstate the importance of the service."

He said about 500 vehicles use the ferry each weekday, with as many as 1,200 customers on weekends. Without the ferry, drivers must travel an additional 1-1/2 hours to get across the river. 

Problems with state funding and costly new requirements by the US Coast Guard threatened to shut down the ferry in 2018, but Crittenden Fiscal Court was able to temporarily help cover expenses, and the ferry operated on a shortened schedule for several months until a $2.15 million contract was approved for 2018-2020.

Published 08:52 PM, Tuesday Jun. 30, 2020
Updated 10:08 PM, Tuesday Jun. 30, 2020



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