Harsens Island Ferry Restricted To Foot Traffic After Dock Collapse

WWJ News
December 12, 2019 - 8:02 am

HARSENS ISLAND (WWJ) - Traveling to and from Harsens Island by car will not be an option until further notice.

The Champion's Auto Ferry dock on the mainland, between Clay Township and Harsens Island, collapsed into the North Channel on Wednesday. 

"There had been some ongoing issues over the past couple of months due to the high water. They had to do some weight restrictions to that landing just because there's been some degradation to it," said Mark White, Deputy Director of Emergency Management in St. Clair County. "Because of the high water levels that we've been experiencing over this past year, that actual structure has crumbled and has fallen into the river."

Power lines came down while crews were working at the site, complicating matters even further. DTE Energy says its crews are working to fix the power lines. 

Champion's Ferry is now restricted to passenger traffic only until further notice. The ferry takes off at 8 a.m., noon, 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. It's unknown when the ferry will be up and running again for vehicles. 

White said first responders, including the Coast Guard, are ready to get people off the island in case of an emergency.   

"(Emergency Management) Director Westmiller contacted the Coast Guard to utilize their services if any type of rescue situation should occur on that island, that we can get the appropriate personnel back and forth to the island. I know there's some pretty rough water down there right now with the higher winds," said White.

Reporting live from the scene, WWJ's Mike Campbell said at least 95 cars and trucks were left behind in parking lots on the mainland. Once on the island, some residents have to walk miles to get home, unless they have another vehicle or good neighbors to pick them up.

Officials are holding a community meeting this Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Lions Club to address the situation.