The Cross Sound Ferry will soon be getting an upgrade, which officials say is a long time coming.
The ferry service has been awarded a $1.2 million grant, according to Congressman Tim Bishop’s office,
The funds, provided by the Federal Transit Administration’s Passenger Ferry Grant Program, will be used to update and make repairs to the terminal in Orient.
The main recipient of the ferry’s repair efforts will be 270 feet of bulkhead: retaining walls that prevent continuously crashing waves from eroding away the peninsula of land the ferry uses as a terminal. Plans are also being made to replace the ferry’s vehicle ramps and install new berthing dolphins, the wooden structures that provide boats with a place to moor.
The rehabilitation funds are overdue, according to Bishop’s office. The Cross Sound Ferry, which provides transportation between Orient Point and New London, Connecticut, is used by more than 1.1 million people each year. Although the Cross Sound Ferry has only been in operation for about 40 years, ferry service between Long Island and Connecticut has existed since the mid-1880s, and the bulkhead at the terminal is estimated to have been in place since at least the 1940s.
Cross Sound Ferry President and owner John P. Wronowski announced with Bishop that the “grant and ensuing improvements will ensure the reliability of our ferry service for decades to come.”
Wronowski also went on to thank Bishop, the FTA, and Suffolk County for their help in procuring funds for the repairs.
County Executive Steve Bellone also released a statement saying Suffolk County was proud to be part of the rehabilitation project, which will “help preserve and enhance the existing ferry terminal” and allow “continued operations providing passenger and vehicle services to the residents of Long Island and New England during normal operations and vital supplies and services during times of regional emergencies.”