BATON ROUGE, La. – The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) announced today that it has received a commitment from St. John the Baptist Parish officials to transfer Edgard/Reserve ferry operations to the parish. To assist in the transition, DOTD has agreed to extend ferry service at the Edgard/Reserve landing approximately two to four weeks utilizing road transfer funds provided by the parish. The ferry was scheduled to permanently close on Friday, June 28.
Through memorandum of understanding, St. John the Baptist Parish officials commit to taking over future ferry operations. Additionally, the parish will assume responsibility for portions of state-owned highways in exchange for extending service during the transition. The highways the parish will take responsibility of include La. 3223 from U.S. 61 to La. 44 and La. 3224 from U.S. 61 to La. 44. The two-to-four-week extension will allow local officials more time to secure funding for ferry operations.
DOTD will operate the ferry for approximately two to four weeks, pending staff availability. Because of the late nature of the agreement and the existing layoff plan in place for state ferry employees, staff resources are limited. Edgard/Reserve ferry service hours have already begun to be adjusted based on staffing constraints. Current hours, which are subject to change, are 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
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. In addition to the Edgard/Reserve ferry, the White Castle ferry was scheduled for closure in 2013. Closing these ferries and/or transferring these local transit operations will save taxpayers more than $3.5 million a year combined.
Approximately 193,000 drivers and 5,900 pedestrians used the Edgard/Reserve ferry last fiscal year, which translates to less than 750 individual daily users.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) is committed to delivering transportation and public works systems that enhance the quality of life. In addition to more than 16,600 miles of roadway, including over 890 miles of interstate and 13,000 bridges, DOTD supports the development of the state’s aviation, marine and rail infrastructures. Through this work, we are able to facilitate economic development, create job opportunities, improve vital evacuation routes, and make critical freight corridors safer and more efficient.
For more information, please visit www.dotd.la.gov, email firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
Motorists can access up-to-date travel information by dialing 511 or by visiting www.511la.org. Out-of-state travelers can call 1-888-ROAD-511 (1-888-762-3511).