Elwell Ferry Back in Operation

Elwell Ferry
Elwell Ferry (DOT photo)

Repair crews installed a new pulley at Elwell Ferry this week, bring the venerable river crossing back into service a month sooner than expected.

“We found a spare pulley and installed it,” said Dept. of Transportation spokesman Andrew Barksdale, “and the ferry resumed operation (Tuesday).”

Inspectors recently discovered a major crack in a main pulley for the cable that draws the boat back and forth across the river. Officials hoped to find a spare pulley in state storage, but were prepared to manufacture a new one if necessary. The ferry recently underwent a complete refit and engine rebuild.

Elwell Ferry was first put into service by the Russ Brothers of Kelly in 1905. While cable ferries were common for more than a century, Elwell is the last inland cable ferry left in the state. It connects Carvers and Kelly in Bladen County.

The ferry landings on either side of the river are popular with fishermen, campers, boaters, tourists, birdwatchers and bicyclists. The Wildlife Resources Commission maintains a boat ramp on the carvers side of the river.

A new contractor is set to take over the ferry in the near future, Barksdale said. It is owned and maintained by the state, but operated by a private contractor.

Operating hours can be affected be weather conditions, low water or maintenance schedules. Go to NCDrive.gov for up to the minute information on all roadways in the state.

About Jefferson Weaver 2033 Articles
Jefferson Weaver is the Managing Editor of Columbus County News and he can be reached at (910) 914-6056, (910) 632-4965, or by email at [email protected].