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Parker’s Ferry operation delayed

WINTON – Scheduled repairs have been completed to the vessel used at Parker’s Ferry.

The only thing preventing this unique ferry from once again shuttling vehicles is having the vessel back in place along the sandy shorelines of the Meherrin River.

Parker’s is only one of three remaining cable ferries remaining in the state. It has carried vehicles across the river since the early 1900’s, but the wear and tear on its steel deck, operations room, and diesel engine led to the vessel being taken out of service by the NC Department of Transportation back in November of 2018.

However, the work planned for Parker’s Ferry was delayed due to prioritization of work on larger ferries.

“The vessel was taken out of service and moved to the NCDOT Ferry Division Shipyard at Mann’s Harbor for a major overhaul,” said C.W. “Winn” Bridgers of NCDOT.

The NCDOT Ferry Division has indicated they anticipate moving the vessel back home in mid-January 2020.

“This schedule is subject to weather delays on current high priority Ferry Division dredging projects, one being at the South Dock Basin in Hatteras,” Bridgers noted.. “Once South Dock is complete, the tug is to return to the shipyard for a minor repair. At that time, they plan to move Parker’s Ferry back to its home port.”

Upon its return to the Meherrin River, Bridgers said there will be approximately two weeks of final up-fit to place the vessel back in service.

Parker’s Ferry is guided by a steel cable that is stretched loosely across the river. The cable is secured on each side of the river by steel posts and as the ferry crosses the river, the force of the boat, with the help of rollers on the side of the boat, pulls the normally submerged cable out of the water. The cable is permanently secured to the ferry and allows for the boat to not stray off course in normal river currents.

The ferry, which does not charge a fee, only carries two cars at its maximum and does not operate in high water conditions or storms for the threat of the cable snapping in treacherous conditions is too great.

Motorists wanting to ride the ferry that happen to be on the opposite side of the river than the ferry must blow their horn to alert the operator.

 

 

 

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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