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Press Releases - Department of Transportation

White’s Ferry Study by Montgomery and Loudoun Counties Completed; Publication Scheduled for Nov. 11, Followed by Virtual Public Meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 17

For Immediate Release: Thursday, November 11, 2021

White’s Ferry is a historic cable ferry crossing the Potomac River, connecting Montgomery County in Maryland and Loudoun County in Virginia. White’s Ferry ceased operations on Dec. 28, 2020, following a Circuit Court opinion in a private lawsuit over the use of private land for the ferry landing in Virginia. A joint study to evaluate the long-term feasibility of the ferry service and to help identify possible alternatives and courses of action has been completed and will be released on Thursday, Nov. 11.

In response to the suspended ferry service, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) and the Loudoun County Department of Transportation and Capital Infrastructure jointly undertook the study. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the long-term feasibility and reliability of the ferry service and help identify possible alternatives and courses of action. The effort was focused on a common goal for the two counties to evaluate the need of the transportation connection and to identify potential operating improvements to maximize benefits to communities on both sides of the river. 

The joint study will be posted on Nov. 11. Additionally, MCDOT will host a virtual public meeting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 17, to present an overview of the study and to answer related questions. Loudoun County transportation staff who partnered with MCDOT in the study will be present at the meeting.

Residents can register to participate in the virtual meeting here. The White’s Ferry Study will be available on the MCDOT website here. Subscribers to MCDOT’s White’s Ferry study update list will receive an email notification when the information is posted.

“Closing White’s Ferry had negative impacts for residents to access their work, shopping, and recreation destinations on both sides of the Potomac,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. “The results of this study show a clear purpose and need to reopen the ferry as a critical transportation connection for the communities that rely upon it. I want to thank Loudoun County for their partnership in this initiative. I believe the study’s findings will benefit the elected officials considering what can be done to provide the necessary access for the ferry to reopen.”

Prior to closing, White’s Ferry transported approximately 600 to 800 vehicles per day, in addition to bicyclists and pedestrians.

“Ferry service across the Potomac River is an important part of our region’s transportation network,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “The ferry moved a lot of people, helped support surrounding businesses and shortened commute times for many. We are working closely with Loudoun County to restore ferry service as soon as possible.”

The study’s scope includes:

  • Detailed consideration of best practices of similar ferry operations in other locations.
  • Analysis of existing roadway access and ferry use constraints.
  • Identifying legal and regulatory requirements associated with ferry operations.
  • Potential landing site improvements and landing location options.
  • Operating alternatives that may include a public/private partnership.

“I am pleased that, working together with our partners in Loudoun County, we are making progress on this critical effort to restore service at White’s Ferry,” said Montgomery County District 1 Councilmember Andrew Friedson. “With the study complete, we can now move forward and continue to work on a permanent solution so that a private property dispute will never again disrupt regional mobility and quality of life.”

For information on MCDOT’s programs and for transportation updates, visit montgomerycountymd.gov/dot, follow MCDOTNow on Twitter,  and subscribe to MCDOT’s ‘Go Montgomery!’ newsletter. 

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Media Contact: Emily DeTitta, 240-372-2282 or emily.detitta@montgomerycountymd.gov

Release ID: 21-159
Media Contact: Emily DeTitta, , 240-372-2282

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