Dredge clogs up ferry

MOTORISTS can expect further interruptions to the Ulmarra ferry service as dredging operations are set to continue.

Dredging has been carried out periodically over the past two months on the Southgate side of the Clarence River, resulting in closures of the ferry service from 8am to noon, a spokesman for the Roads and Traffic Authority said.

Further dredging is planned for April 29, weather permitting.

A sandbar develops in the

Clarence River after flooding and affects the ferry operations as the bottom hits the sand in shallow areas.

As a result sand dredging has been necessary, the spokesman said.

Car ferry operator Bruce Condie said the dredging was nothing unusual and that the Southgate side of the river was always the problem.

“It gets shallow in there,” he said.

Without dredging there is a need to restrict the load the ferry can take on each trip to keep it light and high in the water, he said.

When silting is at its worst and the tide is going down just three cars or one truck can safely travel on the ferry. Sometimes the ferry has to operate when the water is just a metre deep.

Boral undertakes the dredging work and uses the recovered sand in its other operations.

For regular users of the ferry, planned closures are advertised on a noticeboard on the ferry, and motorists can also call the

Transport Management Centre on 132 701.

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