HICKMAN, Ky. (AP) _ Transportation officials say the Dorena-Hickman Ferry running between Kentucky and Missouri should be back online in about a month.
Mississippi County Port Authority head Tammi Hutcheson told The Paducah Sun that several upgrades, including new engines, have pushed the return of the ferry back from Jan. 1. The ferry has been out of service since Nov. 17 (http://bit.ly/xFzIlu).
Separated by a mile-wide section of the Mississippi River, Kentucky and Missouri share the distinction as the only border states in the country without direct roadway connection.
Along with new engines, the ferry is getting a larger barge capable of carrying two tractor-trailer rigs as well as passenger cars.
What normally would be a jaunt from Missouri into Kentucky can take motorists over an hour going either through Illinois or Tennessee.
"Locals aren't real happy about the work extension," Hutcheson said. "People are ready for it to be back in service."
Hutcheson said officials hope to see steady truck traffic on the ferry and the new barge could lead to trucking companies including the ferry on driving routes.
Greg Curlin, executive director of the Hickman-Fulton County Riverport Authority, said while the ferry is inoperable, many agricultural loads are driven across the Interstate 155 bridge at Dyersburg, Tenn., making for a 127-mile trip from Dorena, Mo., to Hickman.
"It's been an inconvenience more than anything," Curlin said.