Charlotte-Essex Ferry Route Shut Down By Ice

03/09/11 5:50PM By Melody Bodette

VPR Photo/M. Bodette
Lake Champlain Transportation's ferry is iced in at the Charlotte dock. LCT says the route will be shut down until the ice melts.
(Host) The ferry that crosses Lake Champlain between Essex, New York and Charlotte, Vermont has shut down due to ice on the lake.

That means commuters now face a two-hour detour.

The ferry crossing usually operates year-round. But for the second year in a row, Lake Champlain Transportation has been forced to suspend the route because its ice breaker boat has been shifted further south to the crossing between Crown Point, New York and West Addison, Vermont.

That's where LCT is running a temporary ferry service while the new Lake Champlain Bridge is under construction.

Last fall, concerned commuters packed a meeting to object to the reallocation of boats, saying LCT had time to plan ahead and should have been able to keep its normal route open, in addition to running the temporary service.

Andy Buchanan lives in Essex, New York. He says the crews did a great job keeping the ferry running as long as possible.

But he says the uncertainty of a re-opening date has made it difficult for people to plan ahead.

(Buchanan) "We're really living with the result of the decision of the ferry company on the allocation of boats, and the allocation of their ice breakers that the company made back in the fall."

LCT's Margaret Murphy says the ferry shut down at the end of February and will open once the ice melts, but they have no date at this time.

(Murphy) "We really just don't know. It's really going to depend on the weather. Hopefully it will warm up and it will warm up quickly and melt some of that ice and we'll be able to get underway. We'd obviously like to get running as soon as possible but we're not going to run when it's unsafe."

(Host) Murphy says commuters can sign up for email and text alerts for updates on ferry service.

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