Merrimac ferry opens for 2017 season

Merrimac ferry opens for 2017 season

The COLSAC III, commonly known as the Merrimac ferry, is open for the 2017 season, state traffic officials said Thursday.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation said Wednesday’s opening of the season for the ferry, which shuttles Highway 113 traffic across the Wisconsin River between Okee and Merrimac, is the third earliest since recording the ferry data began in 1971.

The ferry operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week as long as the river is free of ice.

Last year, the ferry opened March 25 and closed Dec. 10.The earliest opening day was Feb. 24, 2006, followed by March 3, 1998.

The ferry holds 15 vehicles at a time, in addition to bicycles and pedestrians, and last year ferried more than 288,500 vehicles across the river. A single crossing takes about seven minutes.