Ferry shuttles flood-stranded trucks

Along with widespread destruction and dislocation, flooding in the Midwest brought challenges for trucking operations that found many usual routes closed, especially for oversize/overweight operations, for which permits were temporarily suspended in Wisconsin.

The S.S. Badger – a 410-foot ferry between Wisconsin and Michigan operated by Lake Michigan Carferry – has offered an alternative for trucks unable to pass through southern Wisconsin by transporting them between Manitowoc, Wis., to Ludington, Mich.

One company – Eau Claire, Wis.-based PDM Bridge – used the S.S. Badger to move oversize loads to Columbus, Ohio. “The Badger is the only way out of the state while the roads are shut down for any permit moves,” says Scott Bauer, transportation manager for PDM Bridge. “It’s saving around 300 miles from driving up around the Upper Peninsula, and with diesel fuel at $5 a gallon, that’s not a feasible solution.”

The permits were suspended on Tuesday, June 17, and the S.S. Badger was sold out for trucks on the first day and expected heavy truck traffic for at least several days, says Magee Johnson, director of media relations for Lake Michigan Carferry.