Ferry service reconnects communities - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Ferry service reconnects communities

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Some relief has come to Iowa's only island city after a months-long bridge closure forces a longer commute for many.

A ferry is now running between the towns of Sabula, Iowa and Savanna, Illinois helping to cut down the travel time. The ferry reconnects the communities after the closure of a bridge in February.

The commute was taking its toll. "It was very inconvenient, yes." said Steven Bradley of Savanna.

As a solution, the Iowa Department of Transportation launched the ferry at no cost to the public. It can carry 15 cars, plus several passengers.

The round trip is about an hour and 15 minutes.

Realtor Dee Shepherd said its a relief. "Literally, 30 minutes here with a client and then go back, two hours. So it really does free up my day where I can work more, and not just be driving."

However, the ferry only runs from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Some feel that's not enough.

"You know, they do have in Sabula and Savanna a lot of night businesses that don't close till 10, so you have those business owners that live in Iowa and go over, even the workers...if they work till nine, 10 o'clock at night, they're still having to drive," Shepherd added.

The ferry is free to the public, but is costing the Iowa DOT a hefty sum. Per day, it costs about $7,000 to operate.

If it runs until the new replacement bridge is open, which could possibly be around Labor Day, it could end up being a total of $1.2  million.

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