Friday, October 27, 2006

BSL Ferry Back

11/3 Schedule

BSL ------ Henderson Point
6:30 a.m.--- 6:52 a.m.
7:15 a.m. --- 7:37 a.m.
8 a.m. ------ 8:22 a.m.
8:45 a.m. --- 9:07 a.m.
9:30 a.m. --- 9:52 a.m.
10:15 a.m. -- 10:37 a.m.
11 a.m. ----- 11:22 a.m.
11:45 a.m. -- 12:07 p.m.
12:30 p.m. -- 12:52 p.m.
1:15 p.m. --- 1:37 p.m.
2 p.m. ------ 2:22 p.m.
2:45 p.m. --- 3:07 p.m.
3:30 p.m. --- 3:52 p.m.
4:15 p.m. --- 4:37 p.m.
5 p.m. ------ 5:22 p.m.
5:45 p.m. --- 6:07 p.m.

At Henderson Point, take U.S. 90 until it ends before the new bridge construction. Turn left on Old U.S. 90 and follow the signs to Third Street and the beach south of there.
In Bay St. Louis, the landing is at the Washington Street Pier.

Ferry do's and don'ts
• Form an orderly line at the ferry landings, stopping behind the chain blocking the launch and wait for the embarked cars to get off.
• Follow instructions from the crew members to let them get the maximum number of cars aboard.
• Walk-on passengers embark last.
• Stay away from safety equipment onboard.
• There is no smoking.
• Vehicles are subject to search based on the Maritime Security Act in an effort to keep explosives and hazardous materials.

Piling fails, halts ferry
The new ferry service across the Bay of St. Louis had a hiccup on its third day of operation.
A piling failed at the Bay St. Louis terminal on a windy day Friday, perhaps exposing a material flaw.
"The direction of wind and severity put too much pressure on the pile," said Dietrich Giles, the ferry general manager for Hornblower Marine Services. "Normally what was put out there would have been adequate for what we're doing."
Giles said they were bringing a barge in Friday afternoon to help shore up the mooring. Hornblower expects to be back in operation this morning.
He said they expect to be able to operate in most normal wind conditions here. If it gets up to 35 or 40 knots, it would create problems.
The wind's direction may also play a part in determining when the ferry can operate in the future.
"We're a little concerned about the water depth once we have a good northerly wind," Giles said. "Everybody knows how much water flows out of here. We feel that we'll be able to manage with that, but not having done it we can't say for certain."

11/1 Ferry expected this afternoon
Free service to start Wednesday
The U.S. Transportation secretary will check in on final preparations for free ferry service across the Bay of St. Louis, slated to start Wednesday.
Mary Peters should get to see the boat, which was expected to leave Bayou La Batre, Ala., Monday at midnight for the commute to its new 1.6-mile route and the Mississippi Department of Transportation-constructed landing sites this afternoon.
Workers at a shipyard across the state line were finishing painting the ship, dubbed the Marissa Mae Nicole after three children of staff members of Hornblower Marine Services, the ferry company that will operate the service.
"Everything was going fine," said Greg Brown, vice president of operations for Hornblower.
The Coast Guard had been conducting inspections in the shipyard and another inspector will visit today, one day before the service starts.
Peters will take the tour with U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor, Mississippi Department of Transportation Executive Director Butch Brown and Federal Highway Administration Division Administrator Andy Hughes.
MDOT was placing wooden pilings that the ferry will tie up to.
"Everything else is pretty much done," said MDOT engineer David Seyfarth.
The ferry contract is estimated to be worth $5 million for its seven-month duration. Service will end when two lanes of the new U.S. 90 bridge of the bay are complete.
Granite Archer Western has a May 16 deadline to meet that milestone.
The request for proposals sketched out a service that would operate from 6:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m., although the schedule for Wednesday's first day has not been released.
"Twelve hours is the magic number," Brown said. "It's the amount of time one crew can operate a vessel."
MDOT also asked for two vessels capable of carrying 35 cars to run on a 45-minute schedule. That would give a total daily capacity of 1,120 vehicles.
The Marissa Mae Nicole can carry only 22 to 25 cars, Brown said, and will be a single ferry. He said the schedule is still untested but they hope to be able to get the departures down to 30 minutes, which would allow the boat to carry a maximum of 600 cars.
By comparison, the Gulf Regional Planning Commission's last traffic count on the U.S. 90 bridge in 2005 showed that 19,000 cars used it daily.

Ferry on schedule - Company says it's on target to open Wednesday
MDOT says it will be finished with the infrastructure construction necessary to support the Bay of St. Louis ferry service by Wednesday, its scheduled start date.
"It's coming along great," said engineer David Seyfarth, who's been overseeing maintenance crews pressed into construction duties. "Right now we're a little held up with the weather; there's a lot of wind down there... . We've just got a few things we've got to get ironed out before we get finished."
The ferry will be paid for by the Federal Highway Administration until the new U.S. 90 bridge is complete. Two lanes are scheduled to open in May.
The service is expected to transport fewer than 1,000 vehicles per day. The Gulf Regional Planning Commission's 2005 traffic count on the U.S. 90 bridge showed 19,000 cars used it daily.
MDOT says the locations of dolphins, structures in the water used to tie up the ferries, are one of the obstacles. The dolphins are clusters of wooden piles banded together with cable.
Work crews have traffic signs and gates left to install, and were pouring the concrete slabs for the Henderson Point landing on Thursday.
"We've got a few things left and I think we've probably got some details on where our new dolphins are going to go on the water. It's looking good."
Hornblower Marine Services won a seven-month contract that will be worth an estimated $5 million to provide the service. A company official said Thursday it remains on target to start service on Wednesday.


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