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Pedestrian ferry starts operation in Iberville Parish following severe bridge damage in Grosse Tete

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GROSSE TETE — A passenger ferry began service Friday across the Port Allen Lock in western Iberville Parish, a week after a vessel hit a nearby draw bridge on a foggy morning and knocked the span out of service.

The six-passenger ferry is scheduled to run each morning and evening until the bridge carrying La. 77 is repaired or replaced. Road crews have estimated that the draw bridge could be closed for months.

The waterway was reopened after the damaged draw bridge was moved out of the way.

A small ferry carries passengers between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. and again from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Without the ferry service, the detour for vehicles is about an hour long. The ferry's hours may be altered if it is still in place when nearby schools reopen this fall.

The bridge was damaged June 6 about 5:30 a.m. Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi said the bridge was being opened when it was hit by a passing barge.

"It did damage to the turnstile under it which is a pivot point. And significant damage to the concrete as well as some of the metal structure under that," Stassi said then.

According to Stassi, fog played a major part in the accident, as did miscommunication.

"Between the boat captain and the bridge attendant, distance got closed way faster than either one was ready and it caused the impact," he said shortly after the crash.

The detour involves using La. 1 to bypass the closure, a route that covers 46 miles or about an hour of driving time.

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