Iowa DOT News Release

Vehicle and Passenger Ferry in Operation to provide travelers with a mobility option to cross the Mississippi River during Sabula bridge construction

Posted on: June 12, 2018

SABULA, Iowa June 12, 2018 – During the closure of the bridge between Sabula, Iowa and Savanna, Ill., the Iowa DOT has implemented a vehicle and passenger ferry to allow travelers another option to cross the Mississippi River. The maiden voyage took place, June 12 at noon and started at the Savanna side of the river. The trip to Sabula took approximately 15 minutes. The reverse trip from Sabula to Savanna took about 25 minutes. Trip length differences are due to the direction and current of the river. On the maiden voyage city and state dignitaries, joined the passengers on board.

The ferry will run approximately ten round trips per day. Each day the ferry will begin and end on the Savanna side of the river. The hours of operation will begin at 6 a.m. and end at 6 p.m., seven days a week. A round trip will take approximately one hour. As services are executed this week, the Iowa DOT will work to establish and promote a regular route to allow travelers to plan for a more consistent trip. Bob Younie, Iowa DOT State Maintenance Engineer noted “because this is a new service for the area, it will take a few days to establish regular patterns and a schedule. We ask the public to be patient and expect that early on there may be some delays. We’re working hard to minimize any issues and get travelers across the river as best as we can.”

United States Coast Guard regulations allow ferries to operate for a 12-hour period at a time. The final trip each day will need to factor in this 12-hour limitation. Bob Younie stated “we anticipate that the final round trip will depart from Savanna each day at 5 p.m. However, weather and river conditions could delay this departure. If the ferry cannot depart for its last round trip by 5 p.m. the last anticipated trip will not occur in order to stay within USCG regulations.  If this were to occur, we’ll do our best to keep the traveling public updated.” Signage in the area and will provide ferry operation notifications.

The Iowa DOT anticipates the new bridge will open by Labor Day, 2018. The construction schedule is tentative and subject to weather and other conditions. Project information, service interruptions, and construction and mobility updates are made available at

The latest traveler information is available anytime through our 511 system. Visit; call 511 (within Iowa) or 800-288-1047 (nationwide); stay connected with 511 on Facebook or Twitter (find links at; or download the free app to your mobile device.

To receive email or text alerts about traffic incidents, road closures, traffic delays, and other restrictions that affect this highway route or other routes you travel, the Iowa DOT offers the “Your 511” option on It’s easy to subscribe to Your 511 and sign up to receive the email/text alerts. Visit for simple, step-by-step instructions.


Contact: Bob Younie at 515-290-2869 or

Iowa highway in the evening