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CALTRANS UPDATES CONTINUED FROM FIRST PAGE   (This page chronicles some of the 2011 Problems with CalTrans limiting access to Ryer Island and other parts of the Delta

12/29/2011  Still no news about when/if the Rio Vista Ferry will start working again.  Also note that CALTRANS finished painting the Steamboat Slough bridge so that is
open to travel.  The J-Mac ferry cable was replaced and is working fine but people with large RV's still need to drive around to the bridge onto Ryer Island to get to
Snug Harbor.  Your telephone GPS may not work so well in the Delta in some areas, and Google does not provide island names and smaller roads of the Delta,
so please print ....   our map Map in JPG  Word  PDF forma
10/6/2011 & updated 10/26/2011:  Reminder!  Those who are coming to stay at Snug Harbor need to use the J-Mac Ferry (St. Rt. 220) off Hwy 160 at Ryde north of Isleton, south of Walnut Grove, or use the bridge route to Ryer Island.  If you are driving an RV, just plan to use the bridge route.  Please print out and use our map and some GPS and online map services send you to all the wrong places in the Delta in the past! 

On A more positive note: Google has finally corrected their map (we've been asking for a correction since 2005) but Google will still send you around the long way or get you lost in the Walnut Grove area due to detour signs.

September & October 2011: TV Channels 5 and 10 have done short focus news videos of the broken new ferry.  The problem with the news stories is that it appears the lack of a ferry between Rio Vista and Ryer Island "only" affects 400 Ryer Island residents.  What about the 100 or more families that might be visiting Snug Harbor on a holiday week end in summer who have to drive around to the bridge onto Ryer Island, which can take up to 35 minutes longer if you are traveling from the SF bay area.  What about the over 100 families who have sailboats moored at Hidden Harbor on Ryer Island, who also need to drive around to get to their boats?  What about the complete stoppage of all Hwy 12 traffic in the Delta when there is an accident that closes use of the Rio Vista bridge for hours...the only other access across the delta was via the Real McCoy Ferry and use of routes 84 and 220.  Maybe CalTrans is trying to get Delta local and tourist traffic to use route 160 more instead, to validate the designation of 160 as a historic sceenic highway in the Feinstein-backed Delta National Heritage Area plan?  People interested in the long term plans for Delta travel might want to double-click on the map to the right for more information,
or go to the CalTrans for an example.
9/30/2011:  Additional documentation on the CalTrans issues
starting on September 15, 2011       CalTrans says the new Real McCoy Ferry (II) will only run for emergency vehicles effective today.  Do lemon laws apply to states that buy equipment from boating manufacturers?  Use the Hwy 12 to 160 to St. Rt 220 across Grand Island to get to the J-Mac Ferry instead.  If towing an RV, go to Walnut Grove, drive up the EAST side of the Sacramento River along 160 to the Paintersville Bridge one mile below Courtland, turn left onto the Paintersville Bridge to cross the Sacramento River, then turn right and go up about one mile.  Across the Sacramento River (on your right) you will see the Courtland Market and docks of Courtland.  This will tell you to look for Courtland Road to turn LEFT and follow Courtland to Ryer Road, at least 5-6 miles going WEST.  Then you will vere left onto Ryer Road, which will take you to the Miner's Slough bridge onto Ryer Island.  Turn left to come down to Snug Harbor, about 7.5 miles.  If you are coming from Sacramento Area, use the Jefferson Blvd. exit in West Sacramento (off the Bus 80/50 Freeway) and follow Jefferson into the heart of the Delta.  Jefferson will end at Courtland Road.  Turn right and follow west along Courtland Road until it veres right onto Ryer Road...see above directions to the bridge onto Ryer Island.

     Click on the thumbnails to see a few of the documents related to the new Real McCoy II ferry and Ryer Island access

(see details below)                                        
Questions?  Complaints?  Caltrans contact: Traci Ruth Office Chief, Office of Public Affairs
Caltrans District 4      510.286.6120       510.715.6730

I wonder if PGE/Google knew of the bridge closures before the rest of us were told?  In August, PGE/Google started displaying the following map online...notice the missing bridge for Sutter Slough!

We received notice from CalTrans of planned work on several bridges in the Delta which the state says are "historical bridges" along the St. Route 160 sceenic highway.  The notices:

The problem with the notice is that it looked like there were no other roads in this area of the Delta that people could use as an alternative route.  9/4/2011 we emailed a request to CalTrans District 3 and 4 to correct the map and to also not start the work until they can provide a reliable alternate route, since the Real McCoy Ferry continues to break more often than it works.  Does the "lemmon law" apply to purchase CalTrans makes with boat/ferry manufacturers?

   Many Delta folks are saying this is another example of how the state is trying to keep people out of the Delta while the state marches  forward with their water diversion plans to expand use of the Delta Cross Channel to divert more Sacramento River water to the south Delta pumps. Perhaps CalTrans is trying to get more people to travel 160 to validate its listing on the National Register for Historical places?  The 2010 Caltrans road use study indicated a preference for St Rt. 84.  By eliminating the use of St. Rt 84 for a while, there will be more local and tourist traffic on 160, no doubt.


May 31, 2011 CalTrans is still putting lives at risk by detouring traffic onto unpaved levee roads for no reason at all;  detour route is 28 miles of unnecessary travel starting from a point where the road sign says 6 miles to Ryer Island at Jefferson and Courtland intersection.
     Several years ago, CalTrans decided to replace the Rio Vista Ferry, the oldest running equipment of Caltrans, purported to be in service at least 65 years.  Since the ferry transports traffic across the Sacramento Ship Channel to Ryer Island, where those going to Sacramento can continue on up St. Route 84, its very important that the ferry be a reliable transportation resource not just for Ryer Island residents but for all of the Delta.  The only other route across the Delta to the east is Hwy 12 and if the Rio Vista bridge is opened or blocked, the traffice on Hwy 12 can back up.  Usinge St. Route 84 and the Rio Vista Ferry has been the alternate route when needed for the last 65 years.

     And then CalTrans redesigned the ferry to make it unuseable by large farming equipment, large trucks, families pulling RVs...all the uses of the past.  Now only vehicle and trucks pulling boats can drive onto this larger ferry because of the poor design of the ramp area.
Ferry documents:  Cache_Slough_Contract_see_page_94.pdf
Addendum_2-ferrydraft.pdf   Invite_For_Bid_57178.pdf
     What is worse, the new ferry went into service in February 2011 and has been broken more times in the last 2 months than the old ferry was down in the last 2 years for repairs!  CalTrans blames it on the design, the builder, the engine builder, the hydraulics...etc, etc, etc.   

     To help folks who plan to come to Ryer Island or Snug Harbor, we will update this page each time we get notice from CalTrans that there is a problem with the ferry, providing you with a copy of the notice we get.  The most receint ferry status will be highlighted in yellow.  In the meantime, we suggest you travel with one of the following along in case you have to you one of the alternate routes to get to us.
North Delta Region PDF       
 Map & Directions from Sacramento-bridge route
Caltrans says both ferrys are up and running and no more downtime is expected 6-3-2011
NSS contacted CalTrans spokesperson to request that all the misleading "detour" signs on Jefferson Blvd, Courtland Road, Ryer Road, etc be removed or cover, as was promised by CalTrans.  We video'd the route on top of dirt levee roads that CalTrans sent many families in large RV's at night on a holiday week end.  A formal complaint will be filed this week with the state.  Map of detour route andfull video to be posted at
CalTrans Detours cause Risk but in the meantime see the short video sample above posted to Youtube.  Initial complaint letter sent.
May 28 & May 31
click or double-click to see CalTrans communications confirming the detour signs would be covered for Memorial Day week end:
May 27, 2011
CalTrans spokesperson says Ferry is running and there are no detours on St. Rt. 84 planned for Saturday thru Monday.  They later emailed that there would be no detours and any signs would be covered.
Miner's Slough bridge IS OPEN!
CalTrans has been doing work on St. Route 84 to the Miners Slough bridge so they have been rerouting travelers up to the bridge-customers say the signs are confusing and misleading, but that the work is supposed to be done by May 20th.  At least 10 different families say to ignore the detour signs as no one is working on the road and they just drive on through.  However, we suggest you use common sense.  We will post more about the road as soon as we get an update from CalTrans.  (updated 5/23/2011)
May 18, 2011
click to see work location
We were given notice that the Rio Vista ferry will be operating fully again on May 18th.  Apparently there was a major break tht caused the ferry to be down this long and then the Coast Guard had to recertify the ferry! May 17, 2011
May 16, 2011
May 15, 2011

click on the above to see communication
May 13, 2011
may 12, 2011
May 9, 2011
May 3, 2011
May 3, 2011
Update:  The ferry is running now. But note that route 84 on the north end of Ryer Island up to the Miner's Slough bridge will be getting new pavement starting 4/25/2011, so come around to our side of the island instead!
St. RT.  84_2011improvements.pdf 

Those of you coming out to visit, please remember to print out our road map of the area as the new Rio Vista Ferry has broken down several times.  The Ferry was designed by CalTrans, we're told, and built by the Nichols Bros in Washington, and lots of folks around here are not happy that a brand new boat would have so many problems!!  So if you are pulling an RV, plan to use the BRIDGE onto Ryer Island.  If driving in a car or truck, plan for the J-Mac ferry from Grand Island to Ryer Island, or else use the bridge at the north
end of Ryer Island.
North Delta Region PDF
Map & Directions from Sacramento
April 2011 road repairs
for Ryer Island and
St. Route 84.  No
blockage for Miner's
Slough bridge onto
Ryer Island

CalTrans has a section on their webiste offering maps for travel in the state, including the San Francisco Bay and Delta Area.  Notice anything wrong with the CalTrans map?  (Blue means water on the CalTrans map key)

Yes, CalTrans in 2011 shows Ryer Island CURRENTLY as a lake in the now we understand why people were asking us if we are on a lake.  We're on Steamboat Slough, but lately another official government agency says the waterway is now called the Sacramento River....see below from the NOAA website.  So if people trying to find Snug Harbor are confused, don't feel bad:  The government agencies are much more confused than you are!

You can click on the graphics on the right for the full size version "print screen" from each website.  Some have suggested the government is doing this to keep people away from the Delta so no one will complain that they want to take even more fresh water away from the farmers, land owners, businesses, local communities...and yes, the fish.
April & May 2011
We've requested
that CalTrans correct
their online "travel"
map so that it does
not look like Ryer
is already a gigantic
water storage basin
or Delta Dam!
April 2011  NOAA and
USGS show Steamboat Slough as other names
2-23-2011 new ferry with school bus on its 3rd day of full operations
We're told the official christening of the new ferry will happen in a few days.  Note to RV folks.  We suggest you use the bridge route onto Ryer Island as the design of the new ferry has a "dip" when getting on which makes it likely your back bumper will scrape.  We watched as farming and dump trucks (that had no problems with the former ferry) had difficulty driving onto the ferry without scraping the undersides of the vehicles, due to the "big dip".  Apparently, this ferry was designed for a different type of loading ramp....
Real McCoy Ferry II up and running to Ryer Island
2-22-2011Even with the stormy weather, the new Real McCoy Ferry II is up and running!  Its larger and the ramps that lift up are longer.  It can take "legal loads".  Caltrans has a new policy will run when at least 4 cars are onboard, or a car has waited 10 minutes for a ride.  I guess this new policy reduces wear and tear and gas use for the new ferry.
1-5-2011 Sacramento Bee article about the new ferry
Links to some of the past CalTrans problems for Ryer Island/Snug Harbor businesses and residents:

CalTrans document list

Lookin for a Ferry Ride!

Ryer Island Rio Vista Ferry upgrade notices by CalTrans

caltrans ferry notice: 5

CalTrans Discrimination Issue

  Snug Harbor Resorts, LLC
3356 Snug Harbor Drive, (& Port Lane, Starboard Lane and Marina View Circle are roads located within the resort grounds)
Ryer Island in Solano County.  near Rio Vista, CA
GPS:   Use Port Lane, Walnut Grove, CA  95690, even though we are located near Rio Vista, Solano County  
  California Delta's Snug Harbor!   Copyright @ 1997-2015