The bike ferry that carries cyclists to and from South Hero won't operate this year due to storm damage to the Colchester causeway. Cycling organization Local Motion, which operates the ferry, announced Friday that the service has been canceled indefinitely.
Strong winds and heavy rains on May 4 caused sinkholes along the bike path that extends on a former rail line into Lake Champlain.
According to the Colchester town website, local officials have found that the storm also caused structural damage to a bridge on the causeway. The total cost of repairs has been estimated at $563,000.
"A project of this scope will take time to plan, fund and execute and unfortunately time has run out for the 2018 Bike Ferry season," Local Motion communication coordinator Becca Jordan wrote in a news release Friday.
From May to October each year, the ferry transports 16,000 people across the 200-foot cut in the causeway between Colchester and South Hero. The organization asks for a $5 donation for the eight-minute ride. Donations generate $75,000 annually — about half the cost of the ferry, according to the Local Motion website.