Dartmouth Lower Ferry Set to Re-open
Dartmouth Lower Ferry will reopen on Tuesday May 21 after 19 weeks of construction work to rebuild and refurbish the slipways. The historic ferry link across the RiverDart will open at 7am following the works which have cost more than £1 million.
The ferry closed in early January but due to unforeseen circumstances the reopening was delayed for some weeks. No-one knew quite what to expect until main contractor Dyer and Butler and sub-contractor TMS started to pile drive on the slipways’ underwater sections below the low water springs tide line.
A spokesman said: “The delays have been caused by a mixture of factors including difficult ground conditions on the Kingswear side, procurement and painting of sheet piling and the late delivery of the specialist fendering delivered from China, whichwas over a month late and though due to be shipped in had to be airlifted. Obstructions thought to exist from some of the earliest attempts to provide slipway foundations – the crossing is said to date back as early as 1365 – gave pile driving crews some major headaches and led to earlier delays. Workers also found animal bones buried deep in the silt under original slipway foundations.
The work was necessary to future-proof the running of the ferry service after engineers found significant corrosion in the inset crane rails and deterioration of the concrete slipways, walls and fendering on both sides of the river. The work should reduce the historic pinch points at the top of the slips, reduce the height of the side plinth on the Kingswear side which used to damage the tugs andallow unloading without getting wet feet on spring high tides. The new fendering should also significantly cut vibration and impact noise from the ferry operations for those residents bordering slipways.