Fort McPherson ferry on schedule despite unexpected cable snip

A cable intended for the MV Abraham Francis was unexpectedly cut short, leaving the GNWT to scramble a new one north.

Delays with a cable and a bearing won't slow down the MV Abraham Francis

The Abraham Francis ferry at Fort McPherson, N.W.T., should be in service June 7 if all goes according to plan. (GNWT DOT)

The  Abraham Francis ferry at Fort McPherson, N.W.T., should be in service Wednesday.

But it took some last minute hustle to make it happen.

A cable ordered in March didn't arrive on schedule after a salesperson in the South unwittingly cut and sold a section of the cable to another customer.

"So we found a secondary cable which we hotshotted up from Edmonton to Fort McPherson. It arrived on Sunday," said Merle Carpenter, Beaufort Delta regional superintendent for the Department of Infrastructure.

Then a bearing needed to be replaced. It's expected to arrive within a day or so, but the ferry can run with the old bearing until then, Carpenter said.

Carpenter expects the original cable will eventually makes its way north.

The cables aren't cheap. They are built to meet exacting Transportation Canada standards and a length of cable suitable for the ferry crossing at Fort McPherson costs approximately $20,000.

But having an extra cable on hand isn't a waste of money. Carpenter said they prefer to start each season with a new cable anyway, and operators like to have an extra one on hand.

The ferry was scheduled to open June 9 at the earliest this year, so the department is ahead of schedule, despite the complications.

The MV Abraham Francis ferry crosses the Peel River at kilometre 74 of Highway 8, a section of the Dempster highway that starts at the Yukon/N.W.T. border and runs 272 kilometres to Inuvik. There is a second ferry crossing near Tsiigehtchic, where vehicles and passengers cross the Mackenzie River.