Construction begins on carferry docks in Ludington, Manitowoc.

December 18, 2018

The SS Badger is moored next to its sister ship, the SS Spartan for the winter while its dock is being rebuilt. Photo courtesy of Tracy Cooper.

Construction begins on carferry docks in Ludington, Manitowoc.

LUDINGTON — The improvement project for the Lake Michigan Carferry dock facility in Ludington is now underway.  The dock facilities serve as the mooring system for the SS Badger passenger and ferry service between Ludington  and Manitowoc Wisc. The Badger runs between mid-May and mid-October. Demolition of the old dock began late last week after the project received final authorization from Gov. Snyder’s office.

Material and equipment for the project has been staging at the site for a few weeks prior to the start of construction. The contractor for the project is Great Lakes Dock & Materials, LLC from Muskegon, and is being managed by Foth Infrastructure & Environment, LLC from De Pere, Wisc., which also provided the design and regulatory permitting services for the project.

  Construction is expected to run through the winter, except for some periods of weather-caused shutdowns, and will be substantially completed in time for the SS Badger to commence with the 2019 ferry services mid-May. Final project completion will be mid-June.

The project consists of removing the aged starboard-side fender wall and mooring facilities and replacing them with a new fender wall and moorings. The new fender wall has been designed to be aesthetically consistent with the original fender wall so that the historic appearance of the SS Badger and her support facilities are respectful of the National Landmark status of the site.

  The Ludington improvements are being conducted simultaneously with similar improvements in Manitowoc so that both ends of the ferry service will have new docking facilities starting in 2019. The improvements for both docking facilities are being funding through a combination of stakeholders that include the Lake Michigan Carferry, the State of Wisconsin, The City of Manitowoc and the US Department of Transportation Maritime Administration (MARAD). The City of Ludington and the State of Michigan are not providing any funding. The cost of construction for the Ludington improvements is $3 million.

  The work, once completed, will help ensure continued operations of the SS Badger that remain a critical commerce connection across Lake Michigan as part of US Route 10 between Ludington MI and Manitowoc WI. The citizens of both municipalities can look forward to seeing the SS Badger enter and leave port, hear the sound of her whistle, enjoy the positive economic impact of the people who use the ship, work on or in support of the ship, and those who simple come to see the historic carferry in operation.


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