The COLSAC III, commonly known as the Merrimac ferry, is open for the 2017 season.
The ferry shuttles Highway 113 traffic across the Wisconsin River 24 hours a day, seven days a week between Okee in Columbia County and Merrimac in Sauk County. The ferry season lasts as long as the river is free of ice.
Today marks the third earliest season opener since the recording data began in 1971. The earliest opening day was February 24, 2006, followed by March 3, 1998.
Last year the ferry opened March 25 and closed December 10.
The ferry holds 15 vehicles at a time, in addition to bicycles and pedestrians, and last year ferried more than 288,500 vehicles across the river. A single crossing takes about seven minutes.