Dorena-Hickman Ferry Closes For High Water

High water on the Mississippi River has led to the closure of the Dorena-Hickman Ferry for at least two weeks.

The ferry connects Ky. 1354 at Hickman, Ky., with Missouri Route A and Route 77 near Dorena, Mo., serving as a critical transportation link for both daily commuters and farmers, according to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

The ferry closed February 11, once the river exceeded 44 feet on the Cairo, Ill., gauge, putting water above where the ferry can operate. The forecast calls for a crest of 49.5 feet February 18.

As for when it might reopen, “Right now, based on the Cairo gauge, we’re looking at about the 25th,” said Keith Todd, spokesman for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s district 1, based in Paducah.

He added that since river forecasts only consider rain anticipated within the next day or two, “It could push to beyond that if we have additional, substantial rainfall, which is certainly possible.”

Missouri and Kentucky have the geographic distinction of being the only border states not directly connected by either a road or a bridge. The only direct route between the two states is the Dorena-Hickman Ferry. The nearest other river crossing for vehicles is near Cairo, Illinois, requiring an 80-mile detour. The ferry operates at Mississippi River Mile 922.0.

In 2019, the ferry also closed February 11, and high water kept it out of service until April. The ferry then closed in October for another month after the crew discovered an issue with a rudder that required it to go into drydock for repairs.

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