Ross River ferry to operate under restrictions this year

The Yukon government is preparing to run the Ross River ferry this year under some restricted conditions, due to the unstable condition of the Ross River suspension footbridge.
The Yukon government says it will save the 70-year-old suspension bridge across the Pelly River at Ross River, Yukon. (courtesy of Barry Kulan)

The Yukon government is preparing to run the ferry at Ross River this summer, under some restricted conditions.

The government says safety is a consideration because of the unstable condition of the Ross River suspension footbridge.

The historic bridge was supposed to be demolished in March, but a protest by Ross River residents caused the government to cancel that plan.

The ferry runs on the Pelly River, along an underwater cable located near the bridge. It is in danger of being hit by debris if the bridge falls.

The ferry will now have a set operating schedule and will not be available on demand.  Service could also be halted depending on the condition of the bridge and any potential work happening on it.

Ross River area outfitter, Jarrett Deuling, says he'll try to plan around the ferry crossings.

"I guess one of the biggest concerns is being stuck on the north side of the Pelly if I've got horses I'm trying to get out, as well as if we had clients that we needed to get across," he said.

He says he's been in discussions with other outfitters from Yukon and N.W.T. and not everyone is aware of the changes.

In the Legislature this week, Minister of Community Services, Brad Cathers, said no decision is consequence-free.

"We recognize that this may have some impact to outfitters and to the tourism industry," he said. "There will be some impact to the ferry schedule as a result of the bridge still being in place instead of having been taken down."

The government is waiting for the ice to break-up before it can start maintenance on the cables and get the ferry in the water.