A second state ferry maintenance facility could be coming to North Carolina with the potential to boost customer service and improve fleet maintenance.
A Federal Transit Administration, or FTA, grant to the tune of $400,000 is footing the bill for the North Carolina Department of Transportation Ferry Division to study designing and building another maintenance facility. The division was awarded last week.
The division will contribute a $100,000 match to fund the study, the results of which may lead to the construction of a facility that would allow state crews to conduct in-water maintenance on ferries and return them to service more quickly.
The Ferry Division currently operates one maintenance facility in the Manns Harbor Shipyard in Dare County.
A second, larger and better equipped depot-level maintenance facility at the Cherry Branch Terminal in Craven County will be studied. The proposed facility could support local marine industries and student trades training, according to the division’s Interim Director Jed Dixon.
“The shipyard has limited capacity and creates challenges in meeting the Ferry Division’s needs for required regular maintenance and emergency repair to vessels,” Dixon said in a statement. “Establishing a second facility would allow for timely maintenance and continued rehabilitation of the fleet. This would make the ferry system more resilient and productive, and help us get boats back in service faster so we can better serve our customers.”
The grant was one of 13 awarded through the rural program and the FTA passenger ferry grant program and totaled $220 million.