The Wahkiakum Ferry Channel is authorized to 9 feet deep and 200 feet wide, from the ferry berth at Puget Island, Wash., to deep water in the Columbia River. The project is located across from Westport Slough channel in Oregon.
The navigation channel supports the Wahkiakum Ferry, which provides interstate transportation to the entire Lower Columbia region. The ferry runs between Cathlamet, Wash. and Westport, Ore., carrying more than 50,000 vehicles each year.
In addition to being the most energy efficient local travel option, it also provides a critical alternative route for interstate traffic when the nearest bridges (26 miles upstream or 43 miles downstream) or highways are closed by weather, traffic accidents, or other causes.
Wahkiakum County completed a $2.8 million ferry terminal upgrade investment in 2010, and plans to put a new, larger $3.9 million ferry vessel into service in 2014. Clatsop County plans $2.4 million in improvements to the ferry landing at Westport to accommodate the new ferry. Federal and state funds are contributing to these investments. The new ferry will have double the capacity for vehicles, and its larger deck will hold tour buses and trucks. Wahkiakum County has requested modifications to the authorized channel to support the new, larger ferry and ferry terminal upgrade.