U.S. Coast Guard to open West Neebish Channel in the St. Marys River

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The Coast Guard Cutter Alder breaks a path through the ice in the Keweenaw Waterway near Houghton, Mich., Dec. 16, 2016. The Alder and other Great Lakes Coast Guard cutters commenced Operation Taconite, the Coast Guard’s largest domestic ice-breaking operation, encompassing Lake Superior, the St. Mary’s River, the Straits of Mackinac and Lake Michigan, Dec. 19, 2016. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – The Coast Guard announces their plan to open the West Neebish Channel in the St. Marys River Tuesday morning, March 24, 2020.

Ice above the Neebish Island ferry crossing is deteriorating rapidly.  Recent rain and above normal temperatures weakened shore ice which threatens to collapse and potentially obstruct ferry operations.  Three 140-foot ice breaking tugs are working the lower St Marys River to flush rotten ice downstream to prevent ice from hindering commercial navigation, including ferry operations.  Prior to announcing these plans, Coast Guard officials conferred with the Eastern Upper Peninsula Transportation Authority (EUPTA) and the local ferry operators to collect their input.  Each supports the timing for the waterway opening.

For up-to-date information on ferry operations call the Eastern Upper Peninsula Transportation Authority (EUPTA) delays, cancellation, and updates hotline at (906) 632-1516, check the local ferry Facebook pages, or the EUPTA website at EUPTA.net.

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