Louisiana Officials Celebrate Construction of Two New Ferry Boats for Cameron Crossing

By Evelina Rivers
Published October 05, 2023

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Louisiana – Secretary Eric Kalivoda of the Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) joined state and local officials today to commemorate the construction for two new ferry boats that will serve the Cameron crossing in Cameron Parish.

This significant project, with a budget of $49.7 million, is already underway. The dimensions of each boat will be 190 feet long, 50 feet wide, and 13 feet tall. Once these vessels are completed, they will replace the aging Cameron II ferry, which has faithfully served since its construction in 1964.

The introduction of these modernized ferries will enable seamless loading and unloading operations for large commercial vehicles without any disruptions. Currently, when the Cameron II undergoes mandatory dry docking maintenance, a temporary side-loading ferry is deployed as a substitute. However, this temporary vessel cannot accommodate trucks longer than 50 feet in length, resulting in detours spanning over 100 miles or more than two hours around the Calcasieu Ship Channel.

In addition to improving transportation efficiency for commercial purposes, these new ferries will also play a crucial role in facilitating safe evacuations during hurricanes or other weather-related emergencies for residents in the area. Furthermore, by utilizing battery-powered electric thrusters charged by diesel generators on board, these ferries contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. These thrusters also have the potential for future upgrades to become fully electric-powered.

“The building of these new ferry boats is an important step forward in replacing the nearly 60-year-old ferry in Cameron Parish,” said DOTD Secretary Eric Kalivoda. “Projects such as these are a testament to the department’s commitment to improving infrastructure in Southwest Louisiana and statewide.”

“There are few projects we have been fortunate enough to work on in our time in public service that are as impactful and needed as the Cameron Ferry project,” said Rep. Ryan Bourriaque. “This one project has quality of life, economic competitiveness, tourism, and public safety implications that are beyond measure. Without the cooperation of the Governor, the Legislature, and DOTD, none of this would be possible. This has been a long time coming.”

“We’re glad for the people of Cameron Parish — and for the people who visit us for fishing, hunting, birdwatching, and other recreation — that we’re getting the ferry replaced,” said Cameron Parish District 1 Police Juror Sonny McGee. “What the state is doing here is an important step in transportation and quality of life.”

“In laying the keel today, we’re providing a pathway to ferry service that’s more dependable, and we’ve needed it,” said Cameron Parish District 5 Police Juror Scott Trahan.

“We thank DOTD, state Sen. Mark Abraham and state Rep. Ryan Bourriaque for their work to make this happen,” said Cameron Parish District 7 Police Juror Butch Guidry.

The Houma, Louisiana-based Thoma-Sea Marine Constructors has been assigned as the contractor for the project. The estimated completion date for this project is set for 2025.