Iowa DOT considers adding a car ferry to connect Savanna and Sabula while bridge construction finishes

SABULA, Iowa--It's been almost three months since the of Savanna-Sabula Bridge was imploded, but the road leading up to it is still being worked on, and it's hurting local businesses. Iowa Department of Transportation officials say they are looking at ways to fix it, but business owners say it may be too little too late.

Right now a lot of options floating around on how to fix that problem. On Tuesday the Iowa DOT is looking into a car ferry that would take people from Sabula, Iowa to Savanna, Illinois.

The group is testing the waters to see if they can add another boat to this river.

"Today we have some people from Missouri who operate a car service. They're gonna look at the feasibility of doing a car ferry here to help people get across the river," says Bob Younie from Iowa DOT.

The ferry would bridge the gap between Sabula and Savanna.

"We're joined at the hip, actually by the bridge, and today we're not. And it's a noticeable difference," says Sullivan's Foods President Scott Sullivan.

Right now the bridge that connects the two is closed. That turns a two mile trek across into a 40 mile drive around.

Sullivan says that difference is bad for business.

"We are affected by about 20-percent of our business, and once after Memorial Day weekend through the rest of the summer, we think that will be closer to 30 to 35-percent," says Sullivan.

Younie says that solution could be this car ferry. It takes around 15 cars across the river at a time. It would run everyday from sunrise to sundown.  But getting a ferry in place could take another three to six weeks.

"From Memorial Day on is really where we make the money," says Sullivan.

Businesses already sending an SOS signal are just going to have to wait to be saved.

"We want to get something done. We're impatient to get something done. But we want it to be safe and pass the regulators tests," says Younie.

Younie says no options are off the table. On Tuesday he said his team is also exploring the option of putting in a temporary bridge that cars can drive over.

The new bridge along with the road that goes to it is expected to be open by Labor Day.