Press-Republican

Local News

October 22, 2009

Pedestrian ferry to launch Monday from Westport

<img src="/homepage/images_image_276103054" alt="&#149;">&nbsp;&nbsp;Westport pedestrian service launching Monday as Crown Point span remains closed

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The marina will allow commuters with personal watercraft to moor there for free.

One of the largest employers on the Vermont side, Goodrich, in Vergennes, is interested in utilizing the new ferry to shuttle employees.

Brian Goodyear of Basin Harbor, Vt., which will operate the 48-passenger ferry, was pleased with the coordinated efforts.

"This is encouraging. It's about as fluid as it gets. We were hoping to find a relationship between New York and Vermont. This has been an eye-opener."

Goodyear said Addison Co. Transit will run two buses: one to Vergennes and the other to Middlebury.

Tickets will go on sale Friday at Goodrich and Sheer Cuts in Vergennes, though purchases may be made at the ferry itself. A round trip will be $8, and a five-day pass will go for $34.

"The biggest unknown will be how many passengers we will have," Goodrich said. "We cross our fingers that we can keep up with a 48-passenger capacity for the first two ferries."

STILL UNSETTLED

Several issues remain to be worked out in the next few days, including possible shuttles from Crown Point and Moriah, potential funding to help defray ferry costs for people with financial difficulties, handicapped accessibility and additional restrooms besides those at the fairgrounds.

Another concern was voiced by Essex County Emergency Director Donald Jaquish concerning the increased use of watercraft. His department is working with firefighters and other safety personnel on cold-water-rescue training.

Looking toward the future, there are hopes for ferry service in the next month or so at the site of the closed bridge in Crown Point.

FEDERAL ACTION

U.S. Sens. Charles E. Schumer and Kristen Gillibrand requested Thursday that the Federal Highways Administration provide DOT with all assistance and technical support possible in the efforts to resolve the disruptive situation caused by the closure of the bridge.

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