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St. Johns River Ferry Gets $3.35 Federal Million Grant For Upgrades, Maintenance

Visit Jacksonville
The St. Johns River Ferry.

The St. Johns River Ferry will be getting $3.35 million in improvements thanks to a federal grant.

The money is coming from a Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grant and will be used for upgrades and maintenance to the ferry slips, the vessel, and the ferry terminal.

“We have made a lot of improvements since JTA assumed ownership and operations of the ferry,” said JTA Chief Executive Officer Nathaniel P. Ford Sr. in an email to WJCT News.

Ridership has grown since JTA took over the ferry on March 31, 2016, according to Ford.

Right now JTA is working on phase three of an overhaul of the ferry, which is scheduled to be completed in January. It includes removal of existing terminal bridges along with the design and construction of rehabilitated bulkheads, replacement of terminal bridges and installation of stopping mechanisms.

The work will require taking the ferry out of service from approximately September 4 through October 31.

Phase four of the improvement project will involve the addition of vertical panels on the fender wales.

JTA said that will enhance the operational safety of the ferry vessel and improve long-term maintenance on the slip walls.

JTA thanked Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Bill Nelson, Congressman John Rutherford and Congressman Al Lawson, as well as state and local officials for their help in securing the FTA grant.

The ferry's primary 40-car vessel is named the Jean Ribault, after the renowned French explorer.  A second ferry, named the Blackbeard, was retired in 2008 and is in dry dock storage in Green Cove Springs, according to the City of Jacksonville's website

Additional Information:

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at, 904-358-6349 or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.

Bill joined WJCT News in September of 2017 from The Florida Times-Union, where he served in a variety of multimedia journalism positions.