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Ohio River Ice Makes Navigation Difficult

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Terry Prather, The Ledger Independent
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Ice flows and growing slabs of frozen river have made navigation of the Ohio River tricky, especially for the Augusta ferry, the only crossing option between bridges at Maysville and Cincinnati.

“I would be doing better if we didn't have all this ice,” said ferry Capt. Herb Lathem. “It is pretty nasty out here.”

As the ice thickens and cargo barges pass by, more of the ice is also closing in around the ferry landings on both sides of the river, making it difficult for the ferry to make the turn each time it lands, he said.

“It is really getting thicker,” Lathem said.

The last time there were issues with ice of current proportions on the river was last year, he said.

“But I was off that week and did not have to deal with it. I wasn't so lucky this time,” he joked.

Safety is at the forefront of operating the ferry, with vehicle and travelers on board for the trips between Augusta and the Higgensport area of Ohio.

“If we have to we close down,” Lathem said. “We keep the state transportation office informed if we have to do that before 4 p.m.”

After 4 p.m., the notification is not necessary, but ferry operators also notify local media outlets of any closings, he said.

“We want folks to know if they can cross here or not,” he said.

Barges traveling the river from Carmeuse Lime and Stone at Maysville have not experienced any problems, a mine spokesperson said on Friday.

For information on ferry crossings in Kentucky go to: http://transportation.ky.gov/ferries/Pages/default.aspx

Augusta Ferry information is also available on the Augusta web at augustaky.com, which includes a live action webcam of the ferry landing activity in Augusta.

The Ledger Independent is online at: http://www.maysville-online.com