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New fleet of steel-hulled River Murray ferries to be delivered

23 June 2015

The state’s River Murray ferry fleet will be renewed with a $6 million investment over the next four years.

The ferries are a vital part of the road network for River Murray towns and are critical for business productivity and tourism in this region.

The remaining four of the timer-hulled ferry fleet are between 60 and 80 years old and reaching the limit of their lifespan.

Inspections on three remaining timber-hulled ferries located in Mannum, Lyrup and Cadell have led to restrictions on load limits due to their deteriorating condition.

From next Thursday, the Tailem Bend ferry will now also have to be placed under a load restriction.

Load limits cause inconvenience for some ferry users and can impact on productivity, particularly for farmers and transport operators who are forced to find alternative routes.

The $6 million dollars for two more ferries will come out of the road maintenance budget.

There is already eight steel-hulled ferries in operation and another two  have already been commissioned to be built by Murray Mallee company Bowhill Engineering.

This project is providing job stability for their skilled workforce of about 25 people, of which up to 10 are working on this contract.

The first of the already commissioned ferries is due to be delivered later this year and the second ferry should be complete by mid-2016.

The remaining two timber-hulled ferries will be replaced to create a steel-hulled fleet of 12 by 2018.

The Tailem Bend ferry will have a 12-tonne load limit from June 25th preventing vehicles above that weight, either laden or unladen, from using the ferry crossing.

Heavy vehicles above the 12-tonne limit will need to use either the Swanport Bridge upstream or the Wellington Ferry downstream.

Emergency vehicles up to 16 tonnes will be permitted to use the ferry but only in emergency situations.

Image of the River Murray