Loudoun, Montgomery counties look to reopen a ferry across Potomac River

Loudoun County, Virginia, and Montgomery County, Maryland, are looking to restore ferry service across the Potomac River.

The historic White’s Ferry that once carried hundreds of commuters between the states closed in December following a court decision that said the ferry’s landing site had trespassed on land owned by Rockland Farm.

In a news release, Loudoun County said it will study all options for restoring White’s Ferry, including searching for a new landing site. The county’s Department of Transportation and Capital Infrastructure will work with transportation officials in Montgomery County to try to find short- and long-term possibilities for a ferry service in the area.

The joint study will look at roadway access, landing site improvement and location options. It will also study White Ferry’s operation, “as well as an evaluation of land ownership and acquisition scenarios for the Virginia landing.”

“Restoring the operation of a Potomac River Ferry between Montgomery County and Loudoun County as soon as possible is critically important to reducing travel times to and from Virginia for many of our residents,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich in a statement.

Loudoun County tried to facilitate a resolution that would get the ferry up and running but neither party will budge.

Chuck Kuhn purchased White’s Ferry and the landing spot in Maryland two months ago. Kuhn told WTOP that he has “exhausted all efforts for agreement with Rockland Farm.” He said he was also open to the government using eminent domain to purchase the landing spot from Rockland Farm. He said engineers that he hired claim the original landing spot is the only suitable site in the area.

Rockland Farm owner Libby Devlin said she is happy that the county will explore all options for the ferry service, including a new docking site.

Devlin said they are looking for fair compensation for the ferry using their land. She suggested a price of $. 50 per vehicle. The land has been in her family for nearly 200 years and her two daughters have recently moved back to the farm to help run it.

“We are trying to make it as a farm and farmers make money off their land,” Devlin said.

White’s Ferry transported over 600 cars per day before closing.

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