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Wahkiakum ferry to close temporarily next week

Contractor work on ramp halts service for 'at least four days'

Photo Credit: FILE - The ferry terminal on Puget Island, Wash. A county-operated ferry service makes regular runs between Puget Island, which lies just south of the Wahkiakum County seat of Cathlamet, Wash., and a terminal in Westport, not far from the Columbia County line.Wahkiakum County in southwest Washington announced on its Facebook and Twitter pages this week that its ferry service between Puget Island, Wash., and Westport will be shut down from Monday, Feb. 2, until Thursday, Feb. 5.

The ferry is still expected to operate during the Monday morning commute. A number of Wahkiakum County residents take the ferry to work in Oregon, particularly at the Georgia-Pacific paper mill in Wauna.

The ferry will then be shut down at about 10:30 a.m. Monday, according to the county's Facebook page.

The interruption in service is due to contractor work on the ferry ramp in Oregon, the county said. In order to accommodate the Westport ramp's reconstruction, the ramp is being moved to a temporary location nearby.

"The ferry will be out of service for at least four days," a Wednesday, Jan. 28, post on the county's Facebook page warned.

The ferry is the only fixed surface link across the Columbia River in between the Lewis & Clark Bridge, which connects Rainier to Longview, Wash., and the Astoria–Megler Bridge at the river's mouth.

The county is replacing its aging ferry with a newer, larger-capacity vessel built by Freeland, Wash.-based Nichols Brothers Boat Builders. The new ferry is expected to be delivered late next month, entering service shortly thereafter.