Residents worry about road that ends in the Mississippi River

ST. FRANCISVILLE, LA (WAFB) - It's been called the road to nowhere by some. The road that used to lead to the St. Francisville Ferry is still open for travel, even though the ferry has been closed for 18 months.

It closed when the James Audubon Bridge opened, to connect West Feliciana Parish and Pointe Coupee Parish. Some worry the open access to the Mississippi River is an invitation to danger, but officials there say they have done everything they legally need to do to warn drivers.

The road to the old ferry landing used to be part of LA-10. It's now an extension of Ferdinand Street in St. Francisville. The name changed after the state closed down the ferry and gave possession to West Feliciana Parish.

Today there are fishermen with lines cast in the water. The area has been turned into the only boat launch in the parish.

"It's probably the best boat launch between Baton Rouge and Natchez," said Parish Manager John Hashagen.

Most of the people who travel all the way down the road know the ferry is gone, but occasionally someone's GPS will take them there looking for a way to get across.

"I had someone ask me 'What time does the ferry run?'" said Hashagen. "I says ferry's closed, been closed."

It's those unfamiliar drivers who some fear will end up cruising right into the Mississippi River, especially at night, if no one is there to stop them.

"People do drive down there. But they usually use caution when they see water ahead of them."

Hashagen says they have done everything by the book to caution drivers about the road ending, starting with a warning 1,500 feet from the river. There are rumble strips at that point, along with signs on each side of the road warning the road is ending. There are warnings again at 1,000 feet and 500 feet, along with two stop signs at the end of the road. Hashagen says those stop signs are actually twice as big as others.

Any further blockage of the road would leave fisherman with nowhere to cast and could possibly hinder a water rescue.

"The Sheriff uses it...he can get his big boat in there if we have an emergency on the river," Hashagen said.

He says the only other thing they have plans for is to put lights up in the area so people can see at night.

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