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Elwell Ferry closed due to high water

By Erin Smith

Many in the Kelly community have been steadily working to repair their homes from damages suffered by Hurricane Florence. One icon of the Kelly community has not operated very much since the storm and some residents have asked why the Elwell Ferry isn’t operating.

Andrew Barksdale, Public Relations Officer with the N.C. Department of Transportation, said the ferry has not been operating due to frequent high water levels in the Cape Fear River.

“Frequent rising river levels, ever since last fall, have prevented us from putting the Elwell Ferry back into service. The Coast Guard won’t let us operate the ferry, if the water level is above 7 feet. On Friday, it was 8 feet, and today it’s at 9 feet and still rising,” explained Barksdale.

Barksdale stated that there has been a lot of wet weather since last fall, but apparently another issue has been that some lakes upstream periodically release water. He explained that those water releases have made the Cape Fear River levels higher than normal in Bladen County.

Barksdale said while the water is high, the ferry will undergo some routine maintenance such as an oil change. He also stated the on ramps will need to have the mud removed with a hose and the ferry will be ready to operate once the river levels return to normal.

The Elwell Ferry is a cable driven ferry and the current ferry in use dates to 1967.

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