THE first of four new River Murray ferries will depart the Morgan dockyard this morning to make the journey to its new home in Lyrup.
Transport and Infrastructure Minister Stephen Mullighan said the new steel-hulled ferry would replace the ageing timber-hulled ferry at the Lyrup river crossing near Berri.
“This new vessel is one of four being delivered by the State Government to replace four timber-hulled ferries which are ageing and subject to restrictions on the loads they can carry,” he said.
“In keeping with convention, the new ferry has been given the name of a native Australian bird and will be called the ‘Cockatoo’.
“The steel hull of the Cockatoo was built downstream at Bowhill Engineering, supporting about 25 jobs in the small River Murray town.
“It was launched at Bowhill in July before making the journey to Morgan to be fitted out.”
Mr Mullighan said it would take about a week to transport the ferry upstream to Lyrup, when the crossing would be closed for the changeover and testing.
“The Government’s $12.8 million investment will see all four new ferries in operation by 2018,” Mr Mullighan said.
“Bowhill Engineering is currently constructing the hull for the next ferry which is due to be delivered to Morgan for fit-out in March next year.
“The Government will conduct an open tender for the third and fourth ferries early in 2016.”
There are 12 River Murray ferry crossings at 11 locations in SA and currently load restrictions are in place at Lyrup, Cadell, Mannum (upstream) and Tailem Bend.
The Department for Planning, Transport and Infrastructure rotates the ferries between locations based on the operational demands of all ferry crossings to maximise benefits to the
community and local business.
The Lyrup ferry crossing will be closed on November 24 and 25 for the changeover and testing.