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Dredging to Delay Port Aransas Ferry Crossings

A 600-foot dredge operates directly in the path of the Texas 361 ferry crossing between Port Aransas and Aransas Pass. Ferries are still operating but will be delayed for at least two weeks beginning September 11. Courtesy photo

Expect delays on the ferry crossing in Port Aransas for at least the next two weeks, the Texas Department of Transportation recently announced. Port of Corpus Christi’s 600-foot-long dredge has moved directly in the path of the vehicle-laden ferries. Until dredging is over, fewer ferries will be in service.

Each ferry can carry up to 20 vehicles. Usually, six ferries run each day moving travelers one-fourth of a mile on Texas 361 between Port Aransas and Aransas Pass. The crossing takes about 10 minutes, but the wait to get on the boat can be an hour or longer during peak vacation times.

Work in that area of the channel began Wednesday, September 11. It should be complete within two weeks, said TxDOT spokesperson Rickey Dailey.

“At this point, it’s hard to say,” Dailey told reporters. “There will be fewer ferries that are able to operate because there will be restrictions on the ability for ferry captains to maneuver.”

The dredge is taking the ship channel down to about 60 feet from about 47 feet to make way for the larger ships now being used to export oil and gas. The ships will be loaded at a controversial marine terminal that the Port of Corpus Christi hopes to build on Harbor Island.

The city of Port Aransas and the port are locked in a battle over further industrial development on the island. After the Port Aransas City Council approved a 60-day moratorium on issuing permits for Harbor Island development, the port filed a lawsuit and terminated the city’s marina lease.

After the lawsuit was filed on September 3, the city and port have exchanged letters denying the other’s charges. City officials now say they want to meet with port representatives behind closed doors to work out their differences.

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