Wisconsin's oldest operating ferry service is about to get its newest boat. By July 9, 2011, the Cassville ferry service will have a new tug and barge to make its Mississippi River crossing.
On December 3, 2010, Skipperliner was awarded a $1.7 million contract to deliver a new tugboat and ferry barge. Three manufacturers vied for the project, which was awarded to the La Crosse-based company.
Skipperliner will construct a new 78-foot barge that can carry about 12 typical vehicles, as well as a 45-foot tugboat to push it. While the company has built numerous commercial and industrial vessels, this is its first ferry to transport vehicles.
The new Cassville ferry will replace the existing Charlie D, which carries up to nine cars. Charlie D has been crossing the Mississippi River at Cassville since 1966. Ferry service here dates as far back as 1833.
Cassville's new ferry was designed by Farrell and Norton Naval Architects. The funds for the project came from $1.8 million in federal stimulus dollars. Wisconsin was among 19 states that received some of the $60 million designated specifically for ferry replacement and refurbishment through the
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
The Cassville ferry provides seasonal service between Guttenberg, Iowa and Cassville, Wisconsin. The nearest bridge crossing to the north is Prairie du Chien, and the nearest bridge crossing to the south is Dubuque, Iowa-a distance of approximately 70 miles.
The ferry operates from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week, from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, making an average of 45 trips per day. It also runs Friday through Sunday in spring and fall.
The new, larger ferry is expected to boost ridership, increasing tourism activity to nearby Stonefield Village as well as Nelson Dewey and Wyalusing state parks. Established in 1971, Skipperliner has built nearly 1,000 boats.
Skipperliner builds custom houseboats and yachts in the 40' - 120' class and U.S. Coast Guard certified passenger vessels in the 40' - 200' class. The company also custom build workboats and government class vessels.
Visit Skipperliner at http://www.skipperliner.com/.