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Merrimac ferry open for the season

April 15, 2014

Vehicle upgrades deliver greener vessel

The Colsac III, the ferry serving as Highway 113 across the Wisconsin River between Columbia and Sauk County, has begun operations for the 2014 season.

The free ferry service is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week between Okee and Merrimac. The craft holds 15 vehicles, in addition to bicycles and pedestrians. A single crossing takes about seven minutes. The ferry season will continue until ice forms on the river in late fall.

Last year the ferry made 45,000 crossings carrying more than 270,000 vehicles. It is the only ferry serving as part of the state highway system and is listed on the state and national registers of historic places.

The ferry was fitted with two new engines and other components during the recent offseason. The $362,000 in improvements includes the new engines, electronics, generators, and muffler system, and will result in a more efficient vessel producing lower emissions. The previous engines, each eight years old, had recorded more than 34,000 hours of running time. Two engines are needed to run the ferry in each direction on a cable system across the river.

More information can be found by searching Merrimac ferry at the WisDOT website.

For more information, contact:
Angela Adams, P.E., WisDOT SW Region operations chief
(608) 399-4143,



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