PADUCAH, Ky. (WEHT) – The Cave-in-Rock Ferry will keep rollin’ on the river. A two-year contract was negotiated to provide $3.3 million for the ferry to continue and provide regular service.

The new agreement will keep the Cave-in-Rock Ferry operating on the regular 16-hour a-day schedule from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. The new contract will expire June 30, 2024.

Crittenden County Judge-Executive Perry Newcom issued the following statement on the contract:

To say that I’m happy is an understatement.  I am thankful for the assistance of Governor Beshear, Secretary Gray, and the Transportation Cabinet staff, ferry operator Lonnie Lewis, the legal team, and many others who were involved in getting this contract completed without a disruption in service.  This ferry provides a critical tourism and commerce connection between Illinois and Kentucky.  We have several hundred commuters who depend on the ferry for daily access to jobs.  We have dozens of businesses on both sides of the river who connect to customers via the ferry.  The economic impact of this ferry goes well beyond Crittenden County and Hardin County.

Crittenden County Judge-Executive Perry Newcom

Kentucky Hwy 91 in Crittenden County, Ky. is connected by the ferry with Illinois Route 1 in Harding County, Ill. About 500 vehicles cross the river each day by the ferry.

The ferry is vital for Hardin County, III., residents as Marion, Ky, provides the closest full-service grocery store. In addition to providing a significant transportation and commerce connection, the ferry links hiking and outdoor activities in the Shawnee National Forest of Southern Illinois with the scenic Amish Community in Crittenden County, KY. The ferry also serves as a tourist attraction.

The ferry operation is jointly funded by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) through the Ohio River Ferry Authority operated by the Crittenden County Fiscal Court.

More information on the ferry schedule and operating status can be found at