Mar 15, 2010 7:25 PM by Sarah Rosario
A ferry that's been proposed to close in the town of Melville in Northern St. Landry Parish is now being repaired. With the legislative session approaching at the end of the month, Governor Bobby Jindal is recommending closing the Melville ferry to save money. Despite this, the Department of Transportation is going forward with the repairs.
D.O.T.D. Administrative Engineer, Bill Fontenot, says repairs are being made to the ferry because its not closed. He says the D.O.T.D is not going to stop maintenance because many people still rely on it. The Melville ferry has been a staple in the community for more than 100 years. As of recent, it's on the verge of breaking down and will temporary close for repairs. "This is not to be confused with anything that's been discussed about a proposal to permanently close the ferry in Melville," said Fontenot. There's a shaft that needs to be replaced. Repairs to the shaft will cost a couple thousand dollars and are paid for by the state. Fontenot says the repairs will take a two to three weeks.
The question is, why pay for repairs on a machine slated to close in the fiscal year starting July 1, 2010? "To keep a ferry in operating condition is good business, whether or not it's permanently closed in the future or not," said Fontenot. If closed people who use the ferry will have to take a 25 mile detour to get to work. As for what to do with the ferry, the Department of Transportation has yet to figure that out.
The proposal for the ferry to close permanently has yet to go though the legislative process. It's something no one will know until the end of session.