Work on ferry’s access roads, ramps not done

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 26, 2010



LAPLACE –St. John the Baptist Parish residents will have to wait a little longer for ferry service across the Mississippi River between Reserve and Edgard.

State Department of Transportation and Development officials said Monday they are awaiting approval from the Army Corps of Engineers before starting work on access roads and ramps at both of the ferry’s landings.

“The ramp goes down to the water level and connects with the ferry’s loading gate for vehicle access,” said DOTD spokesperson Amber Hebert. “Ramps on both sides of the river need work.”

The ramp work is the latest in a series of delays in getting the 17-car ferry back on the water since it was docked in 2007 while the corps made repairs to the levee and landing sites.

Upon completion of the repairs, which called for the repositioning of a utility pole off the levee’s slope, the parish was caught in a legal struggle with the Archdiocese of New Orleans over access to land near the river batture that is owned by St. John the Baptist Church in Edgard. The court battle stretched out more than a year before the church relented and allowed the parish to use the land to place the pole.

The return was delayed again earlier this year when water levels in the Mississippi River prevented work on installation of the pole. The utility pole was put in place and connected to the electrical grid earlier this month, according to Entergy.

Hebert said the ramp work is the final setback keeping the ferry off the water.

She said the boat is regularly docked at the Reserve landing and DOTD has hired the necessary engineers and deckhands to operate the ferry.