River Murray ferry at Mannum to be replaced

Photo: File.
Photo: File.

The last River Murray ferry to carry a load restriction will be taken out of service tomorrow, ending a years-long upgrade project.

One of the two ferry crossings at Mannum will be out of action between 9am and 4pm on Tuesday as a wooden-hulled vessel is retired from service and replaced with a steel-hulled model that had been in service at Tailem Bend.

The second Mannum ferry will continue operating throughout the day.

The new ferry was built at Bowhill Engineering as part of a $12.8 million commitment by the state government.

Two sister vessels entered service at Lyrup in November 2015 and Narrung in July 2016, and a third is expected to enter service at Walker Flat in mid-2018.

Individual ferries are rotated between the 11 crossings in South Australia.

Transport Minister Stephen Mullighan said the state government knew how important the ferry crossings were to residents, trucking companies and tourists.

"It's the end of an era for the outdated timber-hulled ferries, which have reached the end of their useful life, with the last one to be removed from operation tomorrow," he said.

"We already have three brand new steel ferries operating across the network and the fourth is currently being fitted out, ready to enter operation next year.

"It's very pleasing to be delivering on the state Labor government's promise to renew the River Murray ferry fleet and remove operating restrictions for the great benefit of local communities."

He said the ferry project and the construction of a 3000-tonne road bridge, for an upgrade of the Darlington interchange on Main South Road in Adelaide, had created dozens of jobs at Bowhill.

Local councils had spent years campaigning for the replacement of all the wooden-hulled ferries along the Murray, which were between 60 and 80 years old, before the government agreed in 2014.

Progressively greater load restrictions were introduced on the old ferries in their final years.