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Why is the Elwell Ferry closed? When will it reopen?

Jim Ware

Photo by Si Cantwell.

UPDATE (Sept. 28, 2016): The ferry is running, according to the N.C. Department of Transportation. Winter hours are from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. There are no plans to replace the ferry at this time.

UPDATE (2016): The river has been too high all winter and most of spring 2016 to run the ferry, according to Ken Clark, maintenance engineer for Bladen County. The ferry ran for about two weeks in April, he said. In mid-May, the water was about two feet above where it should be for the ferry to be able to run, Clark said. Records for 2015 show the Elwell Ferry started running May 15. This has been an exceptionally wet winter and spring, Clark said, and water levels are monitored daily. For updates on the ferry, visit the ferry’s travel information page on the NC DOT website.

— Stacie Greene Hidek

According to the N.C. Department of Transportation, the Elwell Ferry was closed due to mechanical failure east of White Lake in Bladen County. Elwell Ferry Road (SR 1730), will remain open at both ends during this time. The ferry service resumed once ferry travel was deemed safe.

The Elwell Ferry operates in Bladen County.


What is the Elwell Ferry?

Before the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge was constructed, how did travelers cross the Cape Fear River into Wilmington?

User-contributed question by:
Susan Hoffman

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3 Responses to “ Why is the Elwell Ferry closed? When will it reopen?”

  1. On October 26, 2012 at 11:22 pm Bella wrote:

    Did anyone actually READ that first sentence? “Mechanical failure east of White Lake?” Come on, y’all.

  2. On October 19, 2013 at 3:50 pm Willy Chee wrote:

    Ferry reopens Oct 24 according to NC DOT. –
    If nothing else comes up!


  3. On March 7, 2015 at 12:12 pm Joe Roberts wrote:

    I am interested in the history of the ferry at Tar Heel. I have a neighbor who remembers as a kid crossing the the Cape Fear River on the ferry where the bridge on Tar Heel Ferry Road now stands.

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