04/16/2014: UPDATE: The Merrimac ferry has been closed this morning due to mechanical problems.


The DOT says the Merrimac ferry is open for the 2014 season.

The Colsac III serves as Highway 113 across the Wisconsin River between Columbia and Sauk County.

The free ferry service is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week between Okee and Merrimac.

The craft holds 15 vehicles, in addition to bicycles and pedestrians. A single crossing takes about seven minutes. The ferry season will continue until ice forms on the river in late fall.

In 2013 the ferry made 45,000 crossings carrying more than 270,000 vehicles.

The ferry was fitted with two new engines and other components during the recent offseason. The $362,000 in improvements include the new engines, electronics, generators and muffler system. The DOT says the improvements will result in a more efficient vessel producing lower emissions.