Paperwork woes stall new Kings Point Ferry|[6/24/05]

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 24, 2005

Paperwork problems have kept Warren County from assuming ownership of a new Kings Point Ferry and push boat and will delay putting the new equipment into operation for an indefinite time.

The new ferry barge and push boat were delivered to Warren County a week ago by Tensas Machine and Manufacturing of Newellton, La. The county awarded the contract for $623,100 in May 2004.

During higher river stages, the ferry is the only transportation to Kings Point, a large recreation, farming and timber-growing area west of Vicksburg, since the Yazoo Diversion Canal was built 101 years ago.

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At an informal meeting of the Warren County Board of Supervisors shortly before the vessels were delivered, Road Manager Richard Winans said he hoped to put the new boat and barge into service today. He also said he planned to quit using the old ferry and boat last Sunday and have the ferry closed to traffic this week so there would be time for stability tests to be run, the U.S. Coast Guard to inspect and certify them and give the operators a chance to become familiar with the new equipment.

Thursday, Winans said he had to return the old ferry to service temporarily while Tensas Machine and Manufacturing and the Coast Guard resolve some paperwork problems that have prevented the official transfer of ownership to Warren County. Until those issues are resolved, the county cannot apply for the certificate of inspection that will allow it to operate the ferry.

“I would hate to guess how long it will take,” Winans said.

While the ferry has been closed, Winans said the ferry crewmen have had a chance to learn to operate the new equipment, but without passengers. He said they learned quickly and will be able to begin running the new ferry as soon as it passes inspection.

In the interim, the new ferry is tied up a short distance downstream of the ferry landing.

An alternative was proposed for the ferry consisting of elevating an existing road in conjunction with a flood control project of the Army Corps of Engineers. Supervisors approved the study, but have not followed up.

A bridge was also considered, but ruled out as too expensive.