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WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 27, 2006
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Hokes Bluff Ferry in Etowah remains closed after 6 years

GADSDEN (AP) — It could be a long time before the new Hokes Bluff Ferry moves cars across the Coosa River, even though a new boat already has been constructed.

The Wetumpka company that built the new ferry, Bonner Shipyard, is performing repairs mandated after a Coast Guard inspection.

But even after the work is done, Etowah County commissioners say they must determine the cost of operating the ferry. Such an estimate wasn't done before construction of a boat to replace the old ferry, which shut down almost six years ago.

"I think some feelings may get hurt when all this is over," said county engineer Tim Graves. "In the beginning, we really didn't calculate the operational costs of the ferry. Now, that's a reality that we have to go back and look into."

The Coast Guard must certify the safety of the new ferry, and officials have to buy insurance before it can operate.

The ferry, located in northeast Alabama, had operated since 1842 before its closing. Commissioner Perry Gwin said the ferry closed in 1998 after two major accidents caused its insurance to be canceled.

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Information from: The Gadsden Times, www.gadsdentimes.com

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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