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December 2020
CalTrans provided a convenient map of projects planned for the Delta in 2021-22.  Combine this with the plans for Egbert Tract,
tunnel boring, Lookout Slough restoration, etc and the Delta will be crazy busy!
Rio Vista ferry early May 2020May 14, 2020 

The Rio Vista to Ryer Island ferry has been broken again for weeks.  It was "fixed" and then apparently had other issues and CalTrans says it will start running again on May 15, 2020.  We suggest our Delta travelers always go to and click on the "options" drop down and then check mark the closed or blocked roads, message sites and other notices

In the meantime, CalTrans has job openings for ferry deckhands and captains, apparently, because CalTrans claims they can't run the ferries on schedule due to lack of qualified staff.  

The photo to the left was posted by someone who was waiting for the Rio Vista ferry to open, as it has been sitting at the west side ferry landing for more than a this an illusion or is the ferry sitting on the rough cement of the ferry landing?
February 22, 2020  The Rio Vista to Ryer Island ferry is back in operation.  It was basically down from May 2019 to 2/20/20, except for a very brief few
days here and there over the summer months.  CalTrans has had almost 9 months to fix or recondition the ferry and the landing areas.  Here's hoping
and praying the ferry stays up and running in 2020!
January 28, 2020  Yes, the J-Mac ferry is running regularily.  The ferry to and from Rio Vista area is NOT running but the CalTrans website says it will be up by 1/31/20.  Suggest our Delta travelers always go to and click on the "options" drop down and then check mark the closed or blocked roads, message sites and other notices.  That way you can see what roads are less traveled in the Delta when you are on the roads.

January 5, 2020  The J-Mac ferry is running.  Use highway 160 to 220 at Ryde.  Cross Grand Island to get to the Steamboat Slough Side, then turn right to go to the ferry landing.  Ride the J-Mac across to Ryer Island, then turn left to go down to Snug Harbor.  NOTE:  People pulling RVs need to use the Miners Slough bridge route to Ryer Island!  But CalTrans has been saying for months the Rio Vista ferry would be back runnign by Dec 31...
now the CalTrans website indicates Jan 31.  Freedom of Info Act request regarding repairs and maintenance of the ferry is being completely ignored by CalTrans.
Senator Dodd and Assemblymember Fraizer had scheduled then cancelled a meeting with CalTrans and Delta citizens.  Still no new meeting scheduled to address the way CalTrans is continuing to block access to Delta roads.  Here are two pdfs with examples. Drafts that do not have the written info to go with a slide show but you will get the pictures of what was going on in the North Delta in 2019, transportation-wise. 
caltrans/blockedroads2019.pdf   and  caltrans/trafficissues2019.pdf

January 1, 2020   The J-Mac ferry is broken again, but came back up this morning.  It is becoming so very obvious that CalTrans has no intention of actually repairing the ferrys to allow normal, consisten and reliable traffic through the Delta.  CalTrans public information office also refuses to comply with freedom of information act requests, basically challenging the public to sue CalTrans to get the information that is supposed to be open to the public.  This is not imcompetence on the part of CalTrans.  It is wilfull disregard for the current laws.  More on this issue to come.
December 14, 2019  The J-Mac ferry is running again, once some small onboard repairs were completed.  Please be nice to the local ferry staff.  It is NOT their fault the ferrys go down-high up management fail to plan for replacements for down times when the ferrys need work.  District 4 planners do not seem to understand that blocking access to the local roads does impact not just the locals but also the commuters through the north Delta.  
December 12-13, 2019  The J-Mac ferry was running on 12-12-19 for a few hours, but had to stop operating for some additional repairs, after being fully repaired and certified by CalTrans and Coast Guard as operational.  The CalTrans construction guys or their consultants were at the ferry yesterday afternoon, working on the latest issue.  Locals say the ferry was not running as of the afternoon of 12-12-19 but online map says this ferry is operational.  I also checked the road information site for CalTrans, which indicates the J-Mac ferry is operational  and type in 220 for State Route 220.
December 9, 2019:  I finally got copies of the plans for Miners Slough bridge replacement.  In 2015 there was a meeting by CalTrans about this project.  They said it would take 6 months to build, if they first demolished the existing bridge.  Of course MANY people objected to that plan.  Now, CalTrans says the old bridge will be operable during THREE years construction time.  It doesn't make sense that construction time is so long, since CalTrans will build the bridge 100+ west of the existing bridge.  In any case, the new bridge is planned to be substantially wider, have wider turning radius for entering and exiting bridge, and will not have a height restriction.  All good things.  New plans also seem to fit with the DRMS Phase II plans to revise SR 160 to cross Ryer Island.  (Graphic below)  I was told years ago the DRMS Phase II were dropped due to the expense.  However, given the maps from the most receint "Cache Slough Complex" and water conveyance plans, I would not be surprised to see a huge setback levee crossing Ryer Island.

The down side is that we will be expected to use the ferrys to avoid bridge construction traffic.  What ferrys?  Both the J-Mac and Real McCoy II are not running as I write this summary of new bridge plans.  Note the project was funded already, and was supposed to start in 2018 or early 2019.  I am guessing the fact the Real McCoy II is so unreliable that they can't start until there is a reliable ferry.  Why can't CalTrans lease the old Real McCoy from its new owner until the Real McCoy II is functioning reliably?  We are told by CalTrans that the J-Mac ferry will start running again Dec 14, 2019-lets hope that is true.

In the meantime, due to lack of normal access to Ryer Island, you can bet the US Census and the last few years of CalTrans reporting of road use is way off.

Here are the main documents and screen prints of the planning maps and design for new Miners Slough bridge.  Click on small pictures to see full size:

Miners Slough bridge plans         tunnels plan 2019
 DRMS Phase II State Route 160 on Ryer Island       

Rio Vista Ferry & CalTrans Updates                                                             bach to Index
call the Caltrans ferry update line:  510-622-0120

December 2019: 
J-Mac ferry is supposed to start running again sometime between Dec 7-14.  CalTrans now says the Rio Vista Ferry or Real McCoy II won't be repaired until the end of January 2020.  CalTrans upper management continues to take action (or inaction) to keep travelers out of the Delta, it appears.

November 2019: CAUTION! 
Many of the bridges in the North Delta region are being inspected or worked on, which causes delays in getting anywhere if traveling on highways 12, 160, 84 or 220.  Rio Vista ferry continues to not run except for emergencies.  J-Mac ferry is off at a repair facility.  Now CALTRANS says the ferrys won't be back until the end of December.  Looks like they are trying to keep people out of the Delta to affect the US Census count for the Delta area.
Meeting about the CALTRANS problems with Delta roads, bridges, ferrys and communication will be Dec 10 in Walnut Grove.  Nope.  Meeting cancelled per notice on 11/8/19.

 We suggest you print out our North Delta Map:
Delta Map    and put in your smart phone, as it has good maps and directions showing how to get to different places in the North Delta using the other Delta island roads the locals use. Plan to get to Miners Slough bridge to drive onto Ryer Island, then turn left to drive around the island to Snug Harbor.  Both ferrys are out of service and CALTRANS says they won't be back until the end of December 2019.  If you are interested in why there has been so much traffic on highways 160, 12, and so much blocked traffic at Three Mile Slough and SR 84 also, come to the meeting on December 10 in Walnug Grove:

Please check with CALTRANS to see when the Rio Vista Ferry is or is not working.  Currently the J-Mac is also broken.  And for 2 years CALTRANS has not bothered to repair the damage to the ferry landing area on Ryer Island, so that is causing delays...all summer long so far.  Please do not complain to the local workers who are trying to keep the ferrys running. 

It is the governor's transportation advisors and the persons trying to destroy the Delta in any way they can who need to hear from anyone who cares about the Delta.  Tax dollars can be used to build a brand new bridge to Baccon Island to support MWD water storage plans.  Tax dollars can be used to build a brand new bridge to smaller almost unoccupied islands like Woodward to support MWD water conveyance plans.  So why not build bridges between Grand and Ryer Island at state route 220 to help with North Delta traffic?  Why not sue the boat builder that made the constantly-breaking Real McCoy Ferry, and replace that with a useable, reliable ferry.  Or are California engineers at CalTrans incapable of coming up with such designs?

Please also note that customers have repeatedly reported that Google maps and TomTom direct travelers to use the Rio Vista ferry even though it has been down more than a month, as of 6/10/19.

The Real McCoy II ferry is hands down the most unreliable piece of equipment
ever designed by CalTrans engineers and it constantly breaks down.  Do not
plan to use the ferry unless you have confirmed it is actually working.  We
have contacted the Solanot County supervisors, Fraizer's office, CalTrans, etc
and as of 6/14/19 there is still not estimate of when the ferry will be fixed and
running again
Go to 2014 CALTRANS Updates  
For most of 2013, the Real McCoy ferry has provided service.  We notice there is an electric sign that lists the "people on board" or POB.  However, the counter does not seem to go over 10 people, as we've seen the ferry filled with motorcycles and people, more than 50.  The ferry deckhand said the counter could not go high enough to cover all the people on board and those cyclists where his record of people on board.  So what is the purpose of only counting some of the people some of the time?
July 9, 2013  Apparently the Real McCoy Ferry was fixed.  However, CalTrans has not sent out notice to people that the ferry was fixed.  I rode on it on the 10th and it is working fine.  So why hasn't CalTrans let people know the ferry is running again?  Maybe they are lonely and want lots of people to call the above number to find out if/when the ferry works?  Frankly, it has been much more reliable this year, and CalTrans has been good at letting us know when it is back up and running, so it is quite strange that CalTrans has not updated this time.  Perhaps they are to busy responding to the complaints about taking down the "Save the Delta" and "No Tunnels" signs?
July 8, 2013  Real McCoy Ferry between Rio Vista and Ryer Island broken!  We received notice from CALTRANS that the new Real McCoy Ferry broke once again.  CALTRANS notice says they do not know when the ferry will be fixed.  So why don't they rent the old Real McCoy Ferry which they sold, it was updated and recertified, and then the new ferry, which breaks down often, can get repaired or remade so it won't keep breaking.  Notice how the new ferry happens to break just when it is the busiest travel time in the Delta? 
In the meantime, please note that the
J-Mac Ferry is running just fine.  We
posted a photo given to us by some
long time Snug Harbor patrons who
have been vacationing here since
the 1940's!   more 1950's
February 21, 2013:  CalTrans really should be ashamed of itself.  The original Real McCoy Ferry was reliable and ran for 65 years before being sold to someone who rents it out in the Mare Island area.  The new Real McCoy Ferry II is apparently not capable of handling the traffic like the older one, so it constantly breaks down.  Plus, the new ferry appears to be designed to limit access by recreational vehicles due to the "v" built right into the main deck of the ferry which can cause some long motorhomes to scrape bumpers when getting on the ferry at the Rio Vista side.  We suggest you do not plan to use the ferry unless you call the morning of the day you plan to travel on the ferry.  Note the Rio Vista ferry runs every 20 minutes starting on the hour.  The J-Mac ferry by Howard's Landing on Grand Island, which crosses Steamboat Slough to Ryer Island, runs "on demand" or when needed.  But the larger motor homes can not easily drive onto the smaller J-Mac ferry, so all large RVs should plan to use the BRIDGE route to come to Ryer Island and Snug Harbor.  We suggest you print out and use  the map to the upper right when driving around the North Delta because some cell phone carriers and GPS services don't work well in the Delta.    
November 2012:    The Real McCoy II still breaks down once in a while, so call the above number to find out the "today" status of the ferry as things can change.  Remember you can always drive to Snug Harbor using the bridge onto Ryer Island and the north end of the Island, or use State Route 220 at Ryde to cross Grand Island and use the J-Mac Ferry-cars and small trucks pulling boats OK.  RVs use the Miner's Slough bridge route!  

August/2012  CalTrans says the Isleton bridge was opened to car traffic again, after being closed to vehicle traffice most of the summer for painting.
If one reviews the last several years or road closures in the Delta, it is very, very obvious CalTrans has been intentionally limiting travel in this
area perhaps to make it a bit harder for people to see how beautiful and important this area of Californai really is!  Afterall, if people understand
how important the environment is, they might complain if/when the state starts siphoning off 15,000 cfs from the Sacramento River.
The "new" Real McCoy Ferry continues to break down once in a while, but as of August 2012, seems to be working more often than not.  Ferry runs every 20 minutes to take vehicles across between Rio Vista side and Ryer Island.  So time your arrival at the ferry landing for 5 minutes before the hour, like 8:55, to ride the ferry at 9:00 am.  Or get there by 9:15 to ride the ferry at 9:20 am etc   Ferry runs all day and all night long, every 20 minutes.

Life does slow down in the Delta, so take the time to enjoy the view, or chat on the phone with a friend, or get out and stretch...or work on your game!  Photo to the right shows one Delta visitor who has the right idea...while waiting for the ferry he pulled out his bucket of old golf balls and practiced his swing, trying to hit the balls at least halfway across Cache Slough!

Note that visitors to Ryer Island should NOT plan to use the Rio Vista ferry if traveling in a large RV with low bumpers.  Due to the design of the ferry, the bumpers will scrape or catch the ramp of the ferry.  Trucks pulling boat trailers do fine though, that we've seen and experienced.

July 2012  The "new" Real McCoy Ferry continues to break down intermittently and CalTrans sends out email notices like the below, and occasionally issues maps like the one received a few days ago.  Since the CalTrans map directs travelers to use the Isleton Bridge, which is CLOSED to vehicle traffic because it is held in the upright position for boating traffic, we suggest you not use the CalTrans map.  Plus, the CalTrans map ignores the fact there are roads all the way around Ryer Island, an important fact for someone trying to reach us at Snug Harbor, a peninsula off Ryer Island.  Isn't it an odd coincidence that right at the same time as some government agencies are saying they want to promote and support Delta businesses, other government agencies are making it very difficult for customers to even find or reach the businesses?

  CalTrans provided the summary of vehicle uses (click on table to the left) and you can see much less use with the new ferry, in the green area.  Of course, there is no mention about how many times the new ferry has "broken".  In addition, any time a state route is closed, its supposed to be posted on the CalTrans road closure list...but they have not been doing that consistently, which further frustrates travelers who rely on CalTrans to be accurate. is the CalTrans map that is supposed to show traffic and closures...
No mention on the Ferry sign of when the ferry does or does not take vehicles across, which frustrates Delta travelers.  One would think CalTrans is INTENTIONALLY discouraging travelers to this area of the Delta!

6-20-2012:  CalTrans sent out notice that the Isleton Bridge will remain open afterall until further notice.  That is good news as that bridge is one of the main ways to get to Snug Harbor and Ryer Island by car or if you are from the Bay Area and are pulling an RV!

6-18-2012: Sign at the Isleton bridge says it will be closed due to painting for the rest of June and all of July.  Traffic is diverted into Walnut Grove, where you cross a bridge to get to SR 160, east side of the Sacramento River in Walnut Grove, drive north a few hundred yards, then cross another bridge to get on the west side of the Sacramento River to continue your drive to Snug Harbor, either using the route crossing Grand Island at SR 220 or going up to Courtland Road and coming down to the Ryer Island bridge across Miner's Slough, or else going up to the Steamboat Slough bridge and turn left to go down Grand Island Road to the J-Mac Ferry  (i.e. follow the signs to Grand Island Mansion and the ferry will be a few miles further down Steamboat Slough from the mansion)  Your GPS will not have the current bridge maintenance schedules and detour routes, so please remember to pring out a Delta Map

6-16-2012.  Caltrans plans to close the Isleton Bridge around 6-18-2012 AFTER the Cajun Festival, so you can still use that bridge to get to Isleton. Note that as of a few days ago, online the CalTrans website says the bridge is already closed!  Note again....CalTrans changed its mind and is keeping the bridge open until further notice-good plan!

PLEASE, please remember to print out our map of the Delta,Delta Map since CalTrans has been opening and
closing roads and bridges, and placing detour signs in such a way
that most travelers might get a bit confused regarding which way to go.  For example, note the
detour arrows located at a main intersection in Walnut Grove, supposedly
directing travelers how to avoid whatever bridge or road is closed this week. 

Which way would you turn?

images2012/caltrans/RMC Car Count.pdf  images2012/caltrans/RMC logs.pdf  some stats from Caltrans
     May 31, 2012  From about May 27 to June 2nd, CALTRANS is intentionally limitting access to the North Delta area, including
or especially Ryer Island.  Click on the map to see the closed bridges and roadways with limited access or delays, with printscreens
from the descriptions from the CalTrans website.  May 30,31 and June 1st there are supposed to be many politicians and influential
people in the Delta or a Discover the Delta event, and for some on-the-ground Delta tours by Delta residents. 
So why did CalTrans pick now to close bridges and repair roads?  Perhaps there will be some "unannounced" state and federal politicians
in the Delta to view SR 160 with all Delta traffic being diverted to 160 to further validate making it a "scenic highway"?  Or is there a
very big Delta construction or conveyance project that will happen in the next few days?
images2012/caltrans/Flyer for Posting v2.pdf
images2012/caltrans/Detour Mapjune2012.pdf
On top of it all, if you review the maps of the area from CalTrans, you will see the many different ways CalTrans makes it
appear that there is no access to Ryer Island, or no road to reach Snug Harbor.  Yes, we do complain to CalTrans, but each time we do, yet another misleading map
comes out, and another road gets scheduled for "repairs" which results in limiting access or discouraging travel to Ryer Island.....WHY? 


images2012/caltrans/SR12 Final Report.pdf  

I recall June 1st 2004 the Delta Cross Channel Gates were closed even though it was supposed to stay open.  (last page of the document
references closing the Delta Cross Channel gates on June 1 due to Jones Tract levee failure)  There were other
random closures of roads in the central/south Delta...and then the flooding of Jones Tract was reported to have started on June 3rd. 
 In 2011 and 2012 we've seen CalTrans maps that showed Ryer Island and/or Prospect Island
and/or Dead Horse Island and/or Staten Island and/or Bacon Island as intentionally flooded new "In-Delta Storage". Perhaps this Is why
CalTrans (and therefore the state) is trying to limit access to the Delta?  Links to the In-Delta Storage series of documents:
5-19-2012  CALTRANS plans to do some work on Hwy 12 in the Delta starting June 1st. 
Here's some info or click on the map to get a better idea of
what is plannedimages2012/caltrans/hwy12-mokelumne-canal.pdf

Note that work started on the Paintersville Bridge in Winter and it may still not be open yet-check with CalTrans.  We're also
told CalTrans plans to do work on the Isleton Bridge this summer...painting it...about the time of the Cajun Festival.  We'll
post info here as it becomes available.
The Rio Vista Ferry (aka Real McCoy II aka Cache Slough Ferry aka Ryer Island Ferry) does seem to be working on schedule these days.  Just time your arrival
at the ferry landing for on the hour or every 20 minutes off the hour 24/7.  For example, the ferry leaves from the Rio Vista side at exactly 10:00 am. Goes across
to Ryer Island and picks up any waiting cars and returns to the Rio Vista side.  At exactly 10:20 am the ferry takes on cars again, goes to the other side and brings back cars.
Same thing again 10:40 am...and so on 24/7.  Large RVs need to use the bridge route to Ryer Island because the ferry ramp and design of the ferry itself can cause damage
to the bumper of the large RVs.  Here's our map of the North Delta you should print out and take with you as some gps (like TomTom) get drivers very confused in the Delta,
despite repeated notices of the correct routes to TomTom.  Note, also, that CALTRANS is planning some major work along HWY 12 near the Tower Park bridge so if you
are coming up Hwy 5, you might want to use the Thorton/Walnut Grove exit instead north of Hwy 12.  Here's a map of the planned CalTrans work.

February 28, 2012

The Real McCoy II Ferry (Rio Vista to Ryer Island Ferry) is up and running again!  Whoohoo!  But note the scheduling changes...

2/29/2012 BDCP map (section of map) that shows a "barge landing" at a new place on Ryer Island...interesting.
There's also a barge landing on Brannan or Grand Islands...that one is not clear.  Map also shows a barge landing at Walnut Grove, depending on which pipe route is used.
February 10, 2012.  Thanks to the good article in the River News Herold this week, some interesting items have come to light.  You see, the first Real McCoy Ferry was sold
and we were told it went to "scrap metal".  Turns out it was actually updated and repaired, and was put back into service and is available for CALTRANS to lease until
the new ferry gets fixed.  Common sense would say that the company that built the not-working Real McCoy Ferry II would pay for the lease costs incurred by CalTrans to lease
the Real McCoy 1 until such time as the new ferry is fixed.  So what is the holdup?  Here's some photos and an email I received when I asked if its available for lease to
CalTrans.  The ferry is over by Mare island area and the owner says it would take just 6 hours to get back up to the Delta and be put in service!  Maybe this is the reason
CALTRANS did not communicate with the River News Herald reporter?  Or maybe CALTRANS just doesn't want people in the Delta to see all the conveyance construction
going on right now?    Or maybe CALTRANS will lease the Real McCoy 1 for use between Rio Vista and Ryer Island, and the Real McCoy Ferry II will be used at the location
it was designed for which could be up by Liberty Island given the SAFCA plans?
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 form

For more details on earlier problems with CalTrans limiting access to Ryer Island and other parts of the Delta, please go to
2011 and 2012 wood debris fish studies
2011  see also Unnecessary Detours
2010  (to be added)
2009  (to be added)  see also Ferry Updates
2008  (to be added)
2007  see also  CalTrans   Other