Accident, Repowering,  Bridge Contract Mark Busy Summer For Calhoun, Ill., Ferry Company

The Calhoun Ferry Company, which operates several ferries from Calhoun County, Ill.—a long, narrow peninsula located between the Illinois and Mississippi rivers—is having a busy summer.

The Grafton Ferry, a pay-ferry the company operates part-time between Grafton, Ill., and St. Charles County, Mo., on the weekends through the spring, summer and fall seasons, was temporarily out of service after a mishap with a semi.  The accident occurred August 17 and resulted in a trailered backhoe being pushed into the water. The backhoe was raised at about 2:30 the following morning, according to the Calhoun Ferry Company’s Denise Knight. Other damage to a rail was repaired. Fortunately, there were no injuries. The Grafton Ferry was set to resume operations August 24.

The Calhoun Ferry Company has four push-boat and barge combinations, of which three are 15-car and one is a 12-car. It operates the well-known Golden Eagle Ferry between Winneberger, Ill., and Kampville, Mo., seven days a week, with extra runs during rush hour for commuters.

The Golden Eagle is currently being repowered at Mikes Inc. with a new John Deere engine and generator. The company’s Eagle II is also set to head to Mike’s for repowering when that is done.

Another small ferry the company operates, the A-Tee, is close to finishing up a contract for the Iowa Department of Transportation. The A-Tee, which holds up to 15 cars and 82 people, has been ferrying between the towns of Savanna, Ill., and Sabula, Iowa, since June.

That’s when an access road was closed that the town of Sabula relied on. The access road is part of bridge rebuilding project that will cross the Mississippi River. The ferry is providing needed access to the town during the height of the summer tourist season. The bridge was originally expected to open by Labor Day, but later reports had the opening pushed back to November.