With a heavily traveled bridge out of commission, many drivers are taking advantage of the state's only inland ferry.
Elwell Ferry connects HWY 87 and HWY 53 in southeastern Bladen County.
The two-car ferry is in demand with the nearby HWY 11 bridge closed.
Damaged earlier this week by an oversized vehicle, the bridge is expected to remain out of service until May 23.
With the crossing closed, there's no bridge open between Elizabethtown and Wilmington. The free, three-minute ferry ride is the quickest detour for many drivers.
By mid-morning Thursday, the boat had ferried more cars than it does during a typical day, according to Chris McDaniel of the Department of Transportation.
Officials have extended the ferry's operating hours to 6 a.m.-8:30 p.m. while the bridge is closed.
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