Edgard/Reserve ferry safe at least until summer

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 15, 2012

BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development announced recently that a plan has been finalized with St. John the Baptist Parish officials to extend ferry service at the Edgard/Reserve landing through June 30, 2013. The ferry was set to close Dec. 31, 2012, based on the Streamlining Committee recommendations and budgetary considerations.

The DOTD has swapped portions of state-owned highways in exchange for funding the ferry through the end of the state fiscal year, June 30, 2013. A resolution to accept responsibility for the highways was approved by the St. John the Baptist Parish Council at Tuesday’s meeting. The highways include 0.4 miles of Louisiana Highway 639 from Louisiana Highway 18 to the Union Pacific Railroad Crossing, and the Interstate 10 frontage road from U.S. Highway 51 northbound located north of the I-10/U.S. 51 interchange proceeding west on the north side of I-10 approximately 0.7 miles. The extension will allow local officials more time to address the needs of the local community.

In the past few years, the state, with legislative approval, has begun to implement the Streamlining Commission’s recommendations to close specific ferries that do not provide a significant cost benefit to Louisiana taxpayers. The DOTD’s cost benefit ratio compares ridership cost to the distance to cross at the nearest alternative river crossing. The state closed the St. Francisville and Melville ferries, saving Louisiana taxpayers approximately $2.7 million. In addition to the Edgard/ Reserve ferry, the White Castle ferry is scheduled for closure in 2013. Both of these ferries have bridge crossings that provide alternative routes for drivers, and their closure would save taxpayers more than $2 million a year combined.