GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A ferry that carries vehicles across Lake Michigan will shut down for the rest of the season after its ramp system was damaged unexpectedly over a week ago.
Lake Michigan Carferry, which owns and operates the S.S. Badger from Ludington to Manitowoc, Wisconsin, said the decision to shut the ferry down for the rest of its 70th season is because the repairs will be extensive.
The S.S. Badger’s ramp system was damaged on July 21 when a counterweight structure on the port side failed. Service was suspended as underwater divers, marine construction contractors and an engineering firm worked on repairs. Workers soon realized the repairs would take months because the collapsed structure would need to be cleared and rebuilt, according to Lake Michigan Carferry.
People who have reservations with the line will receive full refunds and will be contacted individually, Lake Michigan Carferry said in a release. The company says it will try to keep much of its seasonal staff working in Ludington and with other companies owned by Interlake Maritime Services.
“This is not how we hoped our 70th season would end but we are fully committed to making the extensive repairs – and doing it the right way – so that we will be back better and stronger in 2024 to serve our loyal passengers and port communities,” said Mark W. Barker, president of Interlake Maritime Services, in a release.
The ferry was built in 1953 and was designated a National Historic Landmark. It used to carry rail cars between Ludington and Manitowoc and can now accommodate 600 passengers and 180 vehicles, including RVs, motorcycles, motor coaches and commercial trucks.