Ferry at Lake Powell won’t open until July 1
Anglers and travelers headed this month to Halls Crossing at Lake Powell will have to take the long way around.
A report from the Utah Department of Transportation says the Lake Powell ferry between the Bullfrog and Halls Crossing marinas will not begin operations until July 1 or later this year — instead of the planned May 15 — because of an accident during spring testing.
The ferry, owned by the Utah Department of Transportation but operated by concessionaire Aramark, connects northern and southern portions of Utah State Road 276 in Garfield, Kane and San Juan counties.
It takes about 25 minutes to make the 3.1-mile crossing.
During a test run March 12 to work on the ferry’s generators, the ferry ran aground and into a canyon wall, said UDOT spokesman Kevin Kitchen.
He said the captain’s report “cites an inexperienced crew and wind as contributing factors.”
According to a report in the Salt Lake City Tribune, Aramark spokesman David Freireich said, “The captain at the helm of the ferry when it encountered mechanical issues is actually quite experienced, and his actions prevented further damage to the ferry.”
Kitchen said repairs will take months, in part because the manufacturer of the outdrives — part of the steering and propulsion system that is outside the hull — has gone out of business.
He said Aramark and the state have a Utah business conducting an international search for replacement parts.
“Any parts they are not able to locate, they will manufacture,” Kitchen said.