Montgomery County officials optimistic about White's Ferry's future

Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation said it remains confident White’s Ferry will reopen in the new year despite the ongoing dispute between landowners on either side of the river.

READ MORE: White's Ferry plans to reopen after legal battle leads to months-long shut down

"We are confident that it’s going to reopen," said Hannah Henn, Deputy Director for Policy with Montgomery County Department of Transportation. "We are all working very hard. It’s been a very collaborative effort."

Henn said the aim is for a reopening in spring or summer 2022.

The ferry shut down nearly a year ago and since then Montgomery and Loudoun counties have been committed to facilitating a reopening.

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The counties recently released a study examining all elements of the historic ferry and its importance.

"The study really showed how reliant people are on the ferry," said Henn.

She said it’s not just commuters who relied on the ferry.

"Actually we found a lot of potential for the ferry on weekends," she said "And that weekend traffic is very important for our local economies."

The study also projects ferry usage will grow 40% in the next two decades, meaning there’s money to be made. But the disagreement on either side of the river continues. The owner of White’s Ferry, Chuck Kuhn, said negations with Rockland Farm, the land owner on the other side of the river, have been unproductive.

READ MORE: White’s Ferry closure, bridge repairs causing frustration for Maryland, Virginia residents

"Given the difficulty and lack of professionalism negotiating with the Rockland Farm ownership, no further negotiations with them appear possible," Kuhn said in a statement.

When asked about the potential for building a bridge across the river, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich told WTOP: "The smartest thing for people to do is not live so far away from work."

"This idea that the rest of us have to accommodate and pay for massive projects because somebody likes the idea of living 50 miles away from where they’re working, that’s a bit of an imposition of costs and environmental burdens on everybody else, because of somebody’s preference for lifestyle in one place or the other," said Elrich.