Governor Steve Beshear's Communications Office
Governor Beshear announces ARRA funding for improvements at popular river ferries in Monroe, Butler and Crittenden counties

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, July 21, 2009  
Contact Information:  Jay Blanton
Jill Midkiff

Stimulus grants enable state to replace aging vessels, rebuild landing

Kentucky at WorkFRANKFORT, Ky. – Gov. Steve Beshear today announced that $690,000 in grants through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will enable the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to make needed improvements at three popular and historic river ferries in western Kentucky.

Two of the grants, each for $300,000, will fund a new tugboat for the Turkey Neck Bend Ferry, which crosses the Cumberland River near Tompkinsville, and a new vehicle barge for the Reeds Ferry, which carries KY 269 traffic across the Green River between Butler and Ohio counties.

A third grant, for $90,000, will fund reconstruction of the landing for the Cave In Rock Ferry, which plies the Ohio River between Crittenden County and Cave-in-Rock, Ill., connecting KY 91 with Illinois State Route 1.

Together, the three ferries transport more than 700 vehicles per day, on average.

“These ferries have long been a mainstay for travelers in western Kentucky,” Gov. Beshear said. “With these much-needed improvements, they will continue to provide an essential service.”

The Turkey Neck Bend Ferry transports an average of 220 vehicles a day across the Cumberland River at KY 214. A new vehicle barge was put into service earlier this month. It substantially outweighed the old barge, and a more powerful replacement for the current, 25-year old tugboat was needed.

The stimulus funds also will pay for a trailer, with which the tugboat can be hauled out of the water for maintenance and inspection. The Transportation Cabinet is developing plans for the new tugboat, which should be complete by spring 2010.

The grant for the Reeds Ferry will enable the cabinet to replace a 60-year-old vehicle barge that is in need of major repairs. It also is too small to accommodate the demand for transport of farm machinery and emergency vehicles.

Reeds Ferry transports 24 vehicles per day, on average. It provides vital access to jobs, shopping and farmland for residents of Ohio and Butler counties.

Cave In Rock Ferry carries an average of 500 vehicles per day. The funding will enable reconstruction of the ferry’s eastern landing, on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River, to eliminate an erosion problem. Over time, erosion has caused sand and dirt to build up around the existing landing, which will be elevated.