REPUTED to be the busiest vehicular ferry in Australia, the Lawrence Ferry now has the capacity to be even busier.
At a cost of $5.3 million the new 24-car Bluff Point Ferry, to name it correctly, was officially opened on Thursday.
Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis cut the ribbon to begin the service to the communities of Lawrence and Woodford Island.
Mr Gulaptis said the new ferry will be more efficient with less down time for users.
"The new ferry also allows for the older ferry, which is used when the new ferry undergoes maintenance, to be moored nearby reducing maintenance closure times," he said.
"The ferries on the Clarence River have been a part of the NSW northern rivers region for more than a century and add to the character of the local area."
He said the need for the upgrade to the service became apparent after Roads and Maritime Services studies and community consultation identified shortcomings in the old service during holiday periods and peak business times.
"Improving the crossing and providing a new ferry was an easy decision for the NSW Government - the crossing is a vital piece of infrastructure along the river," he said.
"Further community consultation was carried out when design options were completed. The preferred option also required modified road approaches and wider ramps. Building started in July and was completed this month.
"The ferry is now open to use and will reduce congestion, waiting times and ongoing maintenance costs."