By KEVIN BOWDEN
The Dorena-Hickman Ferry has not had to shut down due to the water level on the Mississsippi River and the Hickman, Ky., port reopened for business early today.
Tammi Hutcheson, executive director of the Mississippi River Port Authority, contacted the Hickman-Fulton County Riverport Authority and The Messenger on Monday to report the ferry remains in operation across the river. The Mississippi River Port Authority manages the Dorena-Hickman Ferry.
“(Ms.) Hutcheson said that the boat captain is getting tons of calls, mostly from Tennessee, about the status of the ferry,” Amy Williamson told The Messenger Monday.
Mrs. Williamson is the administrative assistant for the Hickman-Fulton County Riverport Authority.
It was late last week Ms. Hutcheson was preparing to shut down the ferry based on the low water level at Cairo, Ill., but the water level remains high enough that the ferry is able to navigate across the river.
“The water level at the mouth of the harbor did not drop as low as was forecasted,” Mrs. Williamson told The Messenger today. “The water is expected to continue to slightly rise over the next couple of days and then forecasted to begin falling again on Friday.”
The water level at the Cairo, Ill., gauge is currently at 16.9 feet, according to Mrs. Williamson. The water level is expected to continue rising to 19 feet by Thursday.
As for the future of the ferry remaining in operation, that status will be up to the weather conditions this fall and the fluctuating water level of the Mississippi River.
The low water level and silt buildup in the Hickman, Ky., harbor had shut down the port to barge traffic, according to Mrs. Williamson, but she notified The Messenger early today the port has reopened.
“As we speak, a barge is being put in at our dock to be loaded out,” Mrs. Williamson told The Messenger shortly after 8 a.m. today. “That is great news.”
The Hickman port was shut down Friday.
“The last barge went out Friday evening,” Mrs. Williamson said.
Although the port has reopened, concerns remain about the status of the port and the Hickman harbor.
“What we need to remain mindful of is the fact that the harbor is still in dire need of dredging and that this is a situation that will only continue to worsen over time,” Mrs. Williamson said. “A solution to this problem has not been achieved, even if the ferry is operating and barges are being loaded or unloaded.”
Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden may be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published in The Messenger 10.18.11