Buena Vista, the new ferry, has arrived at its namesake location on the Willamette River downstream from Albany.
The vessel was tied up Saturday morning on the Marion County side of the river, having completed the trip from the Portland shipyard where it was built.
The tug that brought the ferry upriver was tied up alongside it. Apparently the trip took less time than expected. Rod Bray, the project manager for Marion County, had not expected the vessels to arrive until later Saturday.
Once the ferry is turned over to the county, public works crews will spend several weeks hooking it up to the shore power supply and guide cables, conduct testing and provide pilot training. Once county workers get the ferry ready for service, the Coast Guard will inspect the vessel.
Regular service is expected to resume in early to mid-June, Bray said. A ribbon cutting and grand opening celebration will be held in late June.
The boat's builder is Diversified Marine Inc. of Portland.
The new vessel is bigger than the old one, with room for six vehicles instead of four. It can also operate year-round. The old one operated only during the spring and summer.
Marion County rebuilt the ferry ramps on both sides of the river and had the new ferry built at a cost of about $4 million, funded mostly by the federal government.
The previous ferry had operated continuously, during its season, since 1955, except for a period when it was being refitted in Portland. It was taken downriver by Diversified Marine to be turned into scrap.
Founded in 1852, the Buena Vista Ferry is one of the oldest continuously operating ferry services in the state. Marion County now operates the service.
Watching the new vessel from the Buena Visa side Saturday morning, a man said, "It's good to have it back."