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Essex ferry closed until spring

Stewart said the one ferry operating at Crown Point carried about 1700 cars in its first day of operation Feb. 1, including many Addison County, Vt., shoppers making their way to the Ticonderoga Wal-Mart.

It takes only three minutes for the ferry to make its journey between ferry docks at Crown Point, but with so many riders relying on its service, LCT recognized a need for a second ferry there.

"If the one boat by itself went offline, we would be in a pickle," Stewart said.

The Essex-Charlotte ferry has traditionally carried only 100 cars per day during the winter months. However, ridership on the ferry has seen a considerable increase since the bridge's closing in October. Stewart admits the ferry's closing will be a tough change for its riders.

"The folks there are hoping for an early spring," said Stewart. "As soon as the lake is clear of ice, the Adirondack will be moved to the Essex-Charlotte crossing."

Built in 1913, the Adirondack has a riveted hull that is not suitable for operation in ice conditions. It has traditionally served the Port Kent-Burlington crossing, which has always closed from mid-October through May.

Another ferry, the Gov. George D. Aiken, is currently being refitted with two new engines. Plans are for it to resume at the Essex-Charlotte crossing later in the spring as well.

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