State to spend $3.3 million to upgrade Kampsville ferry

By Nick Kovatch on October 25 at 1:55pm

The Kampsville Ferry will remain fully operational for the foreseeable future thanks to a capital investment of more than $3.3 million to construct a new barge and push boat.

The ferry on Route 108 and 96 between Greene and Calhoun Counties is one of the few ways to cross the Illinois River between Alton to the south and Interstate 72 to the north and it is just one of two ferries that still operate on the Illinois River.

The barge, which carries up to 15 passenger and commercial vehicles per five-minute crossing, and a push boat to move it between the two shores of the river, are specialty items and must be built to individual specifications. The Illinois Department of Transportation advertised for bids for the pair of water craft, and the sole bidder was Massman Construction Co. with a quote of more than $3.3 million.

The new ferry setup will be delivered to Kampsville in 2014. It is being paid for with Federal Ferry Boat Discretionary Funds minus 20 percent of the cost in state matching funds.

The new boat and barge will be based at the Kampsville Ferry landing, but can be interchanged or shared as necessary with the Brussels Ferry farther downstream in Calhoun County. The purchase was necessary because maintenance and repairs were becoming a challenge for the aging ferry fleet. The new additions will mean a total of four sets of boat/barge combinations to service Kampsville and Brussels Ferries.

The push boat and barge purchase is part of Governor Quinn’s $31 billion Illinois

Jobs Now! program, the largest construction program in Illinois history and one of the largest capital construction programs in the nation.