JTA gets $3.9M toward St. Johns River Ferry improvements

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The St. Johns River Ferry will be getting some upgrades thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The $3.9 million passenger ferry grant for the Jacksonville Transportation Authority will go toward the next phase of improvements for the ferry, including $5.6 million worth of work to bulkheads, catwalks, warehousing, mooring bollards and other improvements to both the Mayport Village and Fort George Island facilities. 

“When the JTA took over operation of the St. Johns River Ferry in 2016, we also embarked on an ambitious plan to address needed upgrades and maintenance issues that had accrued over several decades,” said JTA CEO Nathaniel P. Ford Sr. “The next phase of work is only possible because of the strong relationships we’ve built with our partners in Congress and with the FTA, who have seen firsthand how important this vital mode of transportation is to the thousands of customers who sail with us every day."

The grant will account for roughly 70% of the estimated $5.6 million project cost and represents Phase IV of the ongoing upgrade plan for the ferry system. Work is scheduled to begin in Spring 2020. 

The JTA completed Phase III in January, which includes upgrades to the vessel, as well as operational and other safety improvements like rehabilitated bulkheads, new terminal bridges and stopping mechanisms. 

The Jean Ribault is a car and passenger ferry that connects the north and south ends of Florida State Road A1A, linking Mayport Village and Fort George Island via a 0.9-mile voyage across the St. Johns River, 2.5 miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean. 

The ferry is currently dry-docked for repairs after the propeller got tangled with a rope.

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