Upgrade planned for Cassville Car Ferry - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Upgrade planned for Cassville Car Ferry

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by Jamie Grey

CASSVILLE, WISCONSIN (KWWL)-- A direct route from Iowa to Wisconsin across the Mississippi is getting an upgrade -- but it's not a bridge.

The Wisconsin legislature approved using $1.8 million dollars of the state's federal stimulus money to replace the Cassville Car Ferry.

Ferry Pilot Steve Vogt takes a lot of people from the banks of Cassville, Wisconsin to the other side -- in Guttenberg, Iowa. Most of them tourists.

"We do over 25,000 people a year that we don't know how many would be coming to this area if not for this or as a convenience or something unique to the area," said Vogt.

Chuck and Jeanne Bronec from Montana were on their way to Mount Pleasant when they decided to take a detour on the ferry.

"We've got ferries across the Missouri River near where we live, so it was interesting to see the difference in ferries," said Jeanne Bronec.

While most people who use the ferry are tourists, there are practical reasons as well. For example, right now, it's pretty tough to get from Dubuque to Cassville with Highway 133 closed off, but if you get on the ferry, it shaves time off your route.

"You'll notice with Mapquest or GPS, your most direct route, it'll definitely send you down through the ferry. You're right in the middle of a 70 mile stretch of river between bridges."

Now, with the grant, this tug and barge will be traded in for a new model that won't need as much maintenance.

"It starts to show its age and at a future point would have to be replaced. Without that granting, I don't believe of any way to come up with the money to replace it," said Vogt. For Cassville, That means keeping the flow of new visitors who might not otherwise have stopped by.

Cassville officials say the city will sell the current ferry to help pay for the new one.

They say the cost of the new tug and barge will be totally covered between that money and the stimulus funds.

Online Reporter: Jamie Grey

Online Producer: Michelle Caldwell

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