The Bluewater Ferry in Sombra is closed indefinitely after ice in the St. Clair River caused extensive damage to the causeway leading up to their dock on Thursday.
The company says “due to major ice damage” the ferry will be temporarily closed until further notice.
Reports say a Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker was escorting freighters down the St. Clair River around 8:30 a.m., when an ice field broke free, struck the dock and completely destroyed the causeway.
Company officials say a rebuild could cost as high as $4-million and could take a year to complete, reports say.
Morgan and Rob Dalgety own the ferry, which has been closed due to ice since January 3.
Carol Launderville, a communications officer for Fisheries and Oceans Canada, told the Sydenham Current they’ve been in touch with the company since the incident took place.
“The Canadian Coast Guard is reviewing information provided by the manager of the Bluewater Ferry,” Launderville said.
The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley and CCGS Griffon spent the week freeing multiple vessels beset in ice in western Lake Erie and the St. Clair River, and escorting them through the ice, Launderville said.
“The icebreaking done by the Canadian Coast Guard mitigates a significant flood risk along the St. Clair River, which benefits communities on both sides of the border,” Launderville said.
“Working with the U.S. Coast Guard, the Canadian Coast Guard provides icebreaking services which support the safe and efficient movement of goods on the Great Lakes, including the St. Clair River.”
Launderville added: “Icebreaking keeps ships moving safely and efficiently on one of the busiest trans-border shipping lanes in North America.”
The situation has also led to the closure of the Canada Border Services Agency office on the dock as well.
“Seasonal ice build-up on the river, has resulted in the closure of the CBSA office,” Tim Armaly, media relations in the Southern Ontario Region for the Canada Border Services Agency, told the Sydenham Current.
“The CBSA is currently working with the Sombra Ferry operator to determine the most effective way forward. Affected travellers can divert to the Blue Water Bridge crossing in Sarnia.”
Watch for more on this story.
Here are some more photos submitted to the Sydenham Current: