BC ditch cleaning gets underway

The projected finish date for Ferry Drive improvements, which began in 2008, is August. The APAC firm is in the process of completing curb and gutter work.
Earlier, contractors told officials the work would likely be done by at least the end of spring.

“The project was slowed by weather and design problems with several adjustments being made during the final process,” City Manager Jerry Jones said.

The road is being widened with a continuous turn lane added and the ditches filled in. Also, right turn lanes are being added at the Ferry/FM 1442 and Ferry/Texas 87 intersections. The new lanes will help minimize the disruption of traffic flow.

Also, Jones said, last week contractors with the Williamson firm in Lumberton began cleaning out some 85 miles of roadside ditches within the city, paid for in part by emergency funding from FEMA in the early days following Hurricane Ike.

“They have five crews and they’re doing a good job,” Jones aid. The firm has about four months to complete the project, he said.

“We wanted to do it sooner but there were so many trailers sitting in the yards,” Jones added. “It was a matter of waiting for the majority of them to be cleared out.”

Ferry is a highly-traveled road which connects West Roundbunch Road to Texas Avenue. People traveling from areas such as Vidor and Orangefield often used the street as a shortcut when heading to Port Arthur. The origins of the project go back to when John Dubose was Bridge City mayor.

In late 2009, Simco completed its water and sewer line relocation, making way for APAC to pull the old street concrete up and replaced with hot mix asphalt.
During the upgrade process, residents of the Bridgeview and Hunter’s Ridge subdivisions have been able to access their homes with any of the four streets that cross Ferry Drive, then use North John Street to enter either Texas Avenue or Roundbunch.

Ferry Drive was so named because residents traveled the road to get to the Dryden Ferry, which took them to Port Arthur from Bailey’s Landing at the end of Lake Street. Ferry use decreased after 1939 when the Rainbow Bridge opened.

According to a town history at the Bridge City Chamber of Commerce, the Dryden Ferry was operated by the Crittenden Towing Co. and hauled about 18,000 cars across the river each month.

It began operating in 1926, making free trips during the day and charging 50 cents per car in the evenings.

The ferry landing was accessible by a wooden trestle originally funded for $60,000 with the help of Gov. “Ma” Ferguson. Orange County put up $35,000 for improvements.