Hickman Ferry reduces hours, cuts some service from continued drought

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Reporter - Robert Bradfield
Photojournalist - David Dycus

HICKMAN, Ky. - It isn't business as usual for Captain Ed Floyd.

"We need a lot of water, that's for sure," Floyd said.

He's the operator of the Dorena-Hickman Ferry. His patience in waiting for rain is running thin. "We've never seen it this low," he said.

For the second time this year, the lack of rain is forcing Floyd to turn away semi trucks. The low Mississippi River levels make it difficult for trucks to move on and off the ferry.

"If you have anything that's very low, they scoot across the deck and they'll start scratching their vehicles up and it's just not safe," he said.

The ferry continues to serve passenger vehicles, but Floyd said the number of cars using the ferry has been cut in half, partly because he made the choice to end service an hour early because of darkness.

"In the safety of our crew, and the boat and the public, we just shut down an hour early," he said.

Full service will be restored once the Cairo gauge reaches 13 feet - it's currently at 8. With a half inch to an inch of rain projected between tomorrow and next weekend, he says every little bit helps, but it may not be enough to lift the current restrictions.

"If i can walk outside and see a weeks worth of rain, you wouldn't hear one complaint out of me not once," he said with a smile.

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