LUDINGTON, Mich. (WOOD) — Leaders say they’re ready to start rebuilding the dock infrastructure for the S.S. Badger after the ramp system was damaged in July, forcing the ferry to shut down for the rest of its 2023 season.
Lake Michigan Carferry, the company that operates the S.S. Badger, announced Wednesday that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had approved the project.
The federal permit was the last one that Lake Michigan Carferry needed to begin work, the company said in a release. The project had previously received approval from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy.
Work could start as early as this week, Lake Michigan Carferry said. The project, which involves building two new counterweight structures for the ramp system, will likely take several months, according to the release.
Al Bufka Construction Inc., out of Manistee, is expected to start preparing the site this week, Lake Michigan Carferry said. The King Construction Co., from Holland, and Underwater Construction Corporation, which has a regional office in Michigan, will attempt to finish below-water work before winter ice forms.
On July 21, the counterweight structure on the S.S. Badger’s port side failed. Nobody was hurt, and the S.S. Badger was not damaged, but leaders said the needed repairs were so extensive that the ferry had to shut down for the rest of its 70th season.
The S.S. Badger is a car-and-passenger ferry that was built in 1953. It runs between Ludington and Manitowoc, Wisconsin.
Leaders remain confident that the vessel will be running for the 2024 season.