Brussels Ferry reopens in Grafton as river towns recover from flooding

GRAFTON, Ill. – With the river levels falling and the Great River Road reopening, a welcome sight north of Grafton.

For the towns along the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway, a flooded Highway 100 meant daily ferry crossings had to be shut down. But thanks to receding waters, the Brussels Ferry is busy after opening Friday.

From Alton to Elsah to Grafton, things are slowly getting back to normal. Getting back-and-forth across the Illinois River to Calhoun County, that’s been a task.

Flood levels that felt like the return of the Flood of 1993 meant commuters or tourists had a two- or three-hour inconvenience since the Great River Road was closed due to flooding.

The Brussels Ferry, a free service from the Illinois Department of Transportation, closed in late March, reopened in April, but had to close again in May due to flooding.

They began daily service last Friday, offering six to eight trips an hour.

“We get about 1,300 vehicles per day but obviously … weekends would be higher in the fall when peaches come in. We also have the Joe Page Bridge closed which also is an access point to and from Calhoun County…,” said Joseph Monroe, an IDOT district operations engineer. “So with it being closed, we are actually running extra fairies above Kampsville and Brussels to try and alleviate some of the problems that Calhoun County is experiencing right now.”

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