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St. Johns River Ferry halts service for maintenance

The St. Johns River Ferry
Jeffrey Leeser
JTA via Florida Times-Union
The St. Johns River Ferry

The Jean Ribault faces mandatory maintenance, and it will make the trip across the St. Johns River more difficult.

The venerable St. Johns River Ferry, which connects the north and south ends of Florida A1A with daily service between Mayport Village and Fort George Island, will be pulled out of service from Jan. 14 through April 1, the JTA said Wednesday.

With the ferry suspending its 0.9-mile journey across the river every half hour, drivers will have to make a 24-mile detour along routes like Interstates 95 and 295 on the city's Northside, as well as McCormick and Mount Pleasant roads in Arlington.

The Coast Guard mandates routine ferry maintenance every two to three years to ensure it remains in a state of good repair, the JTA said. So the 2½-month project, which will cost $3 million, includes site safety and operational improvements, bulkhead wall extensions, new catwalk accesses and mooring bollards and bridge gantry preservation and rehabilitation.

“These improvements to the ferry and its facilities are critical as JTA addresses how we improve the regional waterborne network and expand water-based services as a viable option for commuters,” JTA CEO Nat Ford said.

Work will also be done to improve signage and improve ferry access for passengers, the JTA said.

The St. Johns River Ferry and its docks underwent comprehensive improvements earlier this year, including a covered pavilion, landscaping and ADA accessible restrooms added on the Mayport side.

The St. Johns River Ferry takes cars, bicyclists and pedestrians across the river on a five-minute journey. For ferry hours of operation, goi to

Dan Scanlan is a veteran journalist with almost 40 years as a radio, television and print reporter in the Jacksonville area, as well as years of broadcast work in the Northeast. You can reach Dan at, (904) 607-2770 or on Twitter at @scanlan_dan.