Free water taxi service between Lansing and Crawford County, WI now underway at no cost while bridge undergoes repair

by Julie Berg-Raymond

Free water taxi service between Lansing and Crawford County, WI was initiated Monday, March 18. According to the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT), this service is expected to be in place until late April, when repairs to the existing bridge connecting the two states are anticipated to be complete.

The water taxi will travel between the Lansing Marina and Big Slough Landing on the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi River and will be available seven days a week during the following hours: 7 to 10 a.m.; 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and 3 to 6 p.m. A one-way trip is estimated to take about 30 minutes. All riders will be required to get off the water taxi at each stop. The water taxi leaves the Iowa side on the hour, and leaves the Wisconsin side on the half hour during those time frames listed above.

On the Iowa side, parking and a shuttle are available at Lansing City Hall and Middle/Kee High School in Lansing. Travelers on the Wisconsin side will need to park at the De Soto Community Center and take a shuttle to the water taxi location, as parking is not allowed at Big Slough Landing. The shuttles will only run between the water taxi and the designated pick-up point. Travelers will need to find their own transportation from that point.

Life jackets are required and are provided for both kids and adults; passengers are also welcome to bring their own. Car seats are not required on the shuttle or water taxi.

“Having a U.S. Coast Guard Captain’s License, having a vessel current on U.S. Coast Guard inspections, and a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service were important factors in our selection of the service provider,” Clayton Burke of the Iowa DOT said.

Regarding some local confusion about a private operator who had inquired about running a shuttle service between Lansing and the Wisconsin side of the river, Lansing Mayor Mike Verdon said no one with the City told the private operator that he couldn’t run a taxi service. “When I was informed that he was using the marina as a staging point, I told the marina operator that he couldn’t use the marina as his staging point until such time that we could run it past the City’s attorney, as there was a concern for undue liability exposure for the City,” Mayor Verdon said. “As a result of the attorney’s opinion, we were not able to allow the marina for his staging area.”

The Iowa DOT, Wisconsin DOT, and possibly the Federal Highway Administration are paying for the water taxi services, Burke said. For more information about the service, call 563-880-8970.