Troubled southern Delaware ferry remains a vital link in Seaford community

Frequent disruptions in service on the Woodland Ferry across the Nanticoke River in Seaford are costing local residents about 20 minutes of travel time.

The Woodland Ferry in Seaford was taken out of service Sunday in order to determine the source of a minor oil leak in one of the thruster units.  According to the Delaware Department of Transportation, a crane is being deployed to slightly lift the ferry out of the water to allow for access to the thruster unit.  It is not known when ferry service will be restored. 

Woodland Ferry Association Vice President Christine Darby says the six-car ferry is well-utilized by local citizens making a daily commute to points south, including Salisbury Maryland.  She also says it’s a historic attraction and that some enthusiasts make a special trip just to see the ferry, which has been in operation in some capacity since the 1793.  The state has been operating the ferry since 1935.

“It’s a very picturesque, very pristine area,” Darby says. 

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There has never been a bridge built at that crossing due to barge traffic along the Nanticoke River.

“The barge would have to go underneath the bridge,” Darby says.  “There is just not the room to do that.”

The motorized ferry is attached to a cable that runs under the river.  The current vessel, named after the late State Senator Tina Fallon, was dedicated about three years ago.  According to Association figures, the ferry carries about 70,000 cars per year.  It was out of service for several weeks in November.

Drivers and passengers are not charged to make the Woodland Ferry crossing.  Normal winter operating hours are 7:30 a.m. until sunset.

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