The Valley View Ferry, which helps carry around 300 passengers safely across the Kentucky River between Fayette and Madison counties daily, will be closing on Oct. 7 for routine inspection.
According to Magistrate Roger Barger, whose district includes the ferry, the inspection could require the closure anywhere from four to six weeks depending on the length of the inspection.
He said the review is routine and done every five years and regulated by the United States Coast Guard and requires a complete dry docking of the barge.
"They require we close and completely remove the vessel to be brought out to inspect it. They look at it, make sure that the hull is good and not rusted," he said, amongst other tasks.
But until it is removed, and the Coast Guard conducts their inspection, the county will not know the next steps in terms of repairs.
The inspection and its conduction are done by the Coast Guard, but if repairs are necessary, the county will then contract the necessary repairs out to a company.
He said those that regularly use the ferry or live in the area have been familiar with closures before, including the inspection, which Barger has seen done three times while on the ferry board.
"Ninety-five percent of people that travel with the ferry everyday have been accommodating for a while," he said. "For those in Richmond that are going to Lexington, which is mostly the case, they will have to take I-75."
Barger said for the over 300 travelers that use the ferry, it "makes bad on them," but the maintenance is something that has to be done.
"At the end of the day, it is all for safety," he said.
The Valley View Ferry is a free service. It operates with funding from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the fiscal courts of Madison and Jessamine counties and the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government.
The ferry is managed by the Valley View Ferry Authority, composed of citizens and government officials from the three counties served.
Regular hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
For more information, visit https://madisoncountyky.us/index.php/home-top/36-valley-view-ferry-status/156-valley-view-ferry-open.
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