Edmonson Voice Staff Report:
MAMMOTH CAVE, Ky., November 12, 2019. – The Green River Ferry vehicle ramp improvement project in Mammoth Cave National Park has been extended beyond the original completion of November 15th, according to an announcement from MCNP. Because of the extension, the park said, the Green River Ferry service and portions of Green River Ferry Road will now remain closed to all vehicular traffic until early spring 2020.
“The park is disappointed that we are unable to open the ferry crossing as intended this fall,” said park Superintendent Barclay Trimble. “We have communicated extensively with the Federal Highways Administration, and feel that extending the contractor’s schedule through the winter is the best overall option for the local community, businesses, our visitors and the park overall. Allowing the work to extend through the winter will mean more work for the contractor, but will be less of an impact on local commuters and tourists than if they were to stop all construction work now and restart again during our busy spring or summer season.”
The project’s contractor, Kovilic Construction Company, has experienced several delays during the completion of their work and submitted a work schedule extension request to the Federal Highway Administration Eastern Lands Highway Division, who is overseeing the construction project, according to the park. Winter weather in Kentucky generally brings more rain and higher water levels in the Green River so the contractor is also resubmitting design information on constructing a higher coffer dam, larger than what was originally planned, around the south side ramp in order to complete the required ramp work, said the press release from MCNP.
The Green River Ferry serves as a river crossing location, river access for canoes and kayaks, boat ramp for fishing boats, and parking area for trail and river users. According to MCNP, during periods of low and high water, extended closures of the Green River Ferry create negative impacts which affect local citizens, visitors, and park staff by presenting safety problems, limiting access to recreational resources, and disrupting frequently used travel routes. The park says the ramp extension project will extend the current vehicle access ramps into the Green River by 30 feet which should allow the ferry boat to operate during periods of low water levels.
The start date of the project was delayed multiple times, but with each announcement of a delay, the original completion date of November 15th remained the same.
The Green River Ferry Road will remain closed from the north side of the Green River, beginning just south of Maple Springs Campground, to the south side of the river at the entrance of the Green River Ferry parking lot.
The Green River Ferry area will remain open for hikers wishing to walk the Echo Springs Accessible Trail, and for river paddlers needing water access throughout the winter construction period, said the press release. A temporary canoe and kayak ramp has been installed at the northeast side of the Green River Ferry parking lot for this purpose, according to the park.
For more information on the Green River Ferry improvement projects and the Green River Ferry and road closure, please visit the park’s website www.nps.gov/maca/green-river-ferry-improvement-projects.htm or call the Green River Ferry Hotline at 270-758-2166 for current ferry operating status.