Plaquemine ferry maxed out after Sunshine Bridge closure
UPDATE: During the duration of the Sunshine Bridge closure, additional ferry service hours will be:
-Monday thru Friday, a second boat will run from 5:15 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
-Monday thru Friday, the first boat will run 4:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
-Saturday and Sunday, the first boat will run from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
-Saturday and Sunday: the second boat will run from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m
PLAQUEMINE - Frustrated motorists are quickly learning there is no quick detour across the Mississippi River after the Sunshine Bridge near Donaldsonville was closed for repairs last week. A barge carrying a crane caused serious damage to the bridge Friday, repairs are expected to last months.
Among the alternative routes is the Plaquemine ferry crossing located several miles north of the bridge which operates two vehicle-transport-boats. DOTD has extended the hours it operates both ferries at the same time but it seemed to have little impact on the huge demand for service Monday.
"This is ridiculous," said Michelle Stevenson remarking on the mile-long-line of traffic waiting to board the ferry.
Stevenson works in Plaquemine and lives in Gonzales. Her 30-minute commute now takes three times as long.
"I don't want to wait in line this long," she said.
Other drivers said they considered traveling dozens of miles to cross bridges in Baton Rouge or Gramercy, but chose to wait in line for the ferry because it takes just as long while putting fewer miles on their vehicles.
The two ferries carry about 30 vehicles each across the river every fifteen minutes while in operation. It's only about one-fourth of the average crossings motorist had been making on the Sunshine Bridge.
DOTD said these extended hours could be adjusted.
Officials also said the old ferry crossing at White Castle will not reopen because it would take too long to get approval from landowners, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Coast Guard.