Sans Souci Ferry
The Sans Souci Ferry has operated in some form or fashion since at least the 1800s. It wasn't until the 1930s that the state Department of Transportation took over operations of the ferry and has operated it ever since. The ferry is not considered part of the state ferry system which operates ferries along the immediate NC coast. The NC cable ferries are considered inland ferries and are operated by regional DOT divisional offices instead of the NC DOT Ferry Division.
The ferry differs from most ferries in that it is literally driven, or one could say guided, by a steel cable that is stretched across the river. The cable is secured on each end of the river by steel posts and as the ferry crosses the river, the force of the boat, with the help of rollers on the side of the boat, pulls the normally submerged cable out of the water. The cable is permanently secured to the ferry and allows for the boat to not stray off course in normal river currents. The ferry only carries two cars at its maximum and does not operate in high water conditions or storms for the threat of the cable snapping in treacherous conditions is too great. Persons wanting to ride the ferry that happen to be on the opposite side of the river than the ferry must blow their horn to summon the ferry, which adds to the charm of this rural icon. The trip across the river takes roughly 5 minutes and saves a drive of about 20 miles. The ferry is free of charge. The ferry operates almost every day except for days of high water and bad weather.
The ferry consists of a steel barge like platform that cars drive onto. Off to one side of the boat is an "engine room" where the operator sits and controls the boat's engine, which actually sits outside beside the room. The ferry is powered by a John Deere diesel engine. The operator must know when to let off the throttle, since the ferry has no brakes or on board steering device.
Many have worried over the years that the ferry might be replaced by a bridge. DOT officials have constantly said that the ferry will likely never be replaced with a bridge since a bridge over this river would cost millions of dollars in an already stretched state budget. The road that the ferry serves is also considered a secondary road which carries mainly local traffic and probably would not warrant the justification of building a multi million dollar bridge.
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (November 2008)|