The Canby Ferry is returning to service today after a major retrofit. It has been out of commission since January for maintenance.
The overhaul was paid for with a $1.4 million grant by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The work was done on a dry dock in Portland.
The closed Willamette Falls Locks were re-opened just for the ferry to be towed through, saving about a half million dollars from having to truck it.
The improved ferry has a new engine that's quieter and more environmentally-friendly, and a new coat of paint. There's also more space for cars, trucks, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians. The ferry needed upgrades to pass Coast Guard inspections.
About 82,000 vehicles take the ferry across the Willamette River between Canby and Wilsonville each year. Going by road adds another 15 miles to the commute.
Since 1997, the M.J. Lee II has transported more than one million vehicles and made 300,000 round trips. The first model ran from 1953 to 1996. The original ferry started service in 1914.