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St. Johns River Ferry To Reopen Thursday After 45 Days

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Abukar Adan
/
WJCT News
Officials smile at the grand reopening ceremony Tuesday.

The St. Johns River Ferry in Atlantic Beach officially reopens Thursday, after being taken out of service for 45 days for repairs and maintenance.

The work, which cost more than $3 million, was made possible through federal grants. It included routine safety inspections of the vessel and replacement of the terminal bridges on both sides of the river.

Jacksonville Transportation Authority CEO Nat Ford hosted a ceremony Tuesday morning celebrating the ferry’s return to service.  

‘We need good infrastructure, but the more important purpose of transportation is to improve the quality of life and accessibility of our community,” said Ford. “And this is an integral part of our community.”  

The ferry connects Mayport and Fort George Island and transports both people and cars traveling state road A1A over the St. Johns River.

Related: More Than A Taxi: St. Johns River Ferry A Cultural Cornerstone for Mayport Residents

While the ferry was out of commission, the commute went from a 1 mile ride across the river to a 28-mile bypass.

Jacksonville City Council member John Crescimbeni said the ferry has been a success since JTA purchased it in 2016.

“We’ve got tremendous ridership. It’s growing and people like to use the ferry,” said Crescimbeni.

In addition to the convenience,  Atlantic Beach Mayor Ellen Glasser sees an opportunity for local communities to grow because of the ferry.

“I see so much potential here, in terms of regional expansion and economic growth,” Glasser said. “It’s just going to be helpful to the people that live here and the people who work here. It’s really exciting.”