Hawkesbury City Council releases timeline for Lower Portland ferry out-of-water survey

The Lower Portland ferry has temporarily ceased operation until January next year to undergo its three-yearly out-of-water survey.

Services stopped from yesterday (October 1) to allow for the survey, required for the ferry's maritime licensing, as well as the replacement of the ferry ramp on The Hills Shire side of the river.

Maintenance: Lower Portland ferry is due to undergo its three-yearly out-of-water survey from this month. Picture: Geoff Jones.

Maintenance: Lower Portland ferry is due to undergo its three-yearly out-of-water survey from this month. Picture: Geoff Jones.

"Both works will be undertaken concurrently to minimise the impact on the community and ferry users," a council statement said. "Ferry users will be required to use alternative routes, including West Portland Road and the Sackville Ferry."

Ferry services across NSW are generally a State Government responsibility, however the Lower Portland ferry - which costs around $1 million each year to run - is jointly operated and maintained by the Hills Shire Council and Hawkesbury City Council.

The ferry's future had been under a cloud due to operation and maintenance costs to the two councils, however in August the NSW Government committed to provide a maximum $500,000 per year over the next four years to assist.

Hawkesbury Mayor Barry Calvert said the current works were necessary for continued safe operation.

"As acknowledged by the State Government, this is a vital piece of Hawkesbury transport infrastructure, which is why we need to undertake scheduled repairs to ensure its longevity and safety," Cr Calvert said. "Both councils are aware that any ferry maintenance is an inconvenient but necessary action for safe operations and we thank our community members in advance for their understanding during this time."

The ferry will be towed from the Hawkesbury River to a dry dock in Sydney Harbour for the work to be completed.

The Roads and Maritime (RMS) ferry is currently not available as it is being used on the Sackville ferry route, however if a loan ferry does become available during the maintenance period, it will be utilised.

Hawkesbury City Council is administering and managing the ferry maintenance and overhaul, with The Hills Shire Council undertaking the ramp renovation.