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ALDOT’s Fort Morgan to Dauphin Island ferry gets summer spotlight

Auto ferry in motion with cars and people on board
ALDOT's Fort Morgan to Dauphin Island ferry carries vehicles between the locations
Jul 11

On July 12, 2024, Debbie Williams with WKRG will be shining a spotlight on the Alabama Department of Transportation’s ferry service that runs between Fort Morgan and Dauphin Island. This exciting feature is part of the “Your Hometown” summer series.

cars on the Fort Morgan Ferry
Passengers take a ride on the Fort Morgan ferry

A Journey Back in Time

This ferry service has been a beloved part of the community since 1979. It all started with the Terolyn II and its captain, who bravely began an emergency ferry service between Bayou La Batre and Dauphin Island after Hurricane Frederick caused massive damage to the old Dauphin Island bridge. They kept things moving when the bridge was out of action.

As the new Gordon Persons Bridge was being built, the ferry service moved its northern terminal to Fowl River. This essential link for people and cars to Dauphin Island got help from both federal and state assistance.

When the Gordon Persons Bridge opened in 1982, it seemed like the ferry wouldn’t be needed as much. But, thanks to the ferry owner’s clever thinking, a new landing was made at Fort Morgan, connecting Mobile and Baldwin counties.

Into the 21st Century

As the years went by, the Alabama Scenic Byway Advisory Council wanted to keep Alabama’s beautiful and historic places special. The council included the Mobile-Baldwin County ferry route in Alabama’s Corridor Management Plan for the Coastal Connection Scenic Byway. This helped boost tourism and education in the area.

In the early 2000s, Alabama itself became a key player in the ferry service. The state purchased the Fort Morgan ferry vessel and, after Hurricane Katrina, added the Marissa Mae Nicole to the fleet. Today, Alabama owns and takes care of these ferries, with Hornblower Marine Services running the service for 362 days a year, weather permitting.

Keeping the Ferries Shipshape

Alabama and ALDOT spend about half a million dollars each year to keep these ferries in tip-top shape, plus an extra quarter million dollars for their operation. Recently, with a little help from the federal government, over a million dollars was spent to fix up one of the original ferry terminals on Dauphin Island.

Tune In!

Debbie Williams’ feature is set to be a fun and informative look at this important ferry service. It will highlight the ferry’s rich history and its continued importance to the region.

Female reporter speaks into a microphone in front of a line of cars
Debbie Williams will be doing a segment on the Fort Morgan to Dauphin Island ferry as part of the “Your Hometown” series

Don’t miss it! Tune in to WKRG News 5 on July 12, 2024, for the “Your Hometown” segment from 4 to 6 p.m. and discover the fascinating story of the Fort Morgan to Dauphin Island ferry.