LOCAL

White Castle ferry to close permanently June 21 due to lack of staff

Staff Writer
Plaquemine Post South

BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) has announced that the White Castle ferry will close permanently on Friday, June 21 due to a lack of licensed staff required to operate the vessel.

Due to the resignation of ferry staff, the White Castle ferry, which was originally scheduled to close permanently on Friday, June 28, will cease service on Friday, June 21. Ferry employees were originally scheduled to be laid off after service ended.

The ferry is being closed based on recommendations from the Streamlining Committee citing low ferry ridership and a reasonable alternative river crossing. These recommendations were approved by the Legislature. Closing the ferry will save the state approximately $1.3 million per year.

In the past few years, DOTD has begun to implement the Streamlining Commission's recommendations to close specific ferries that do not provide state or regional transportation connectivity and are primarily local transit services.

The state closed the St. Francisville and Melville ferries, which saved Louisiana taxpayers approximately $2.7 million but built a brand new bridge to replace it.

In addition to the White Castle ferry, the Edgard/Reserve ferry is scheduled for closure in 2013. There is also a bridge near that landing. Closing these ferries will save taxpayers more than $3.5 million a year combined.

Operations will continue as normal until the date of closure. The ferry operates from 4:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., and 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

After June 21, motorists wishing to cross the river will need to take an alternate route. The nearest river crossing is nearly 20 minutes north of the ferry landing via the Plaquemine ferry or approximately 25 minutes south at the Sunshine Bridge in St. James Parish.

For more information, please visit www.dotd.la.gov, email dotdcs@la.gov, or call DOTD's Customer Service Center at (225) 379-1232 or 1-877-4LADOTD (1-877-452-3683). Business hours are 7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.