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Ohio River flood levels on the rise, keeping Cave-in-Rock Ferry closed

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(WSIL) -- Flood levels on the Ohio River are rising, impacting residents in both Southern Illinois and Kentucky.

Services were closed for the ferry at Cave-in-Rock Saturday evening and are expected to remain closed until the river crests next week - eventually dropping back down to a safe level.

Lonnie Ray Lewis, owner and operator of the Cave-in-Rock ferry, says interruptions to the ferry's services come as no surprise to residents in the area - instead, it's just a part of life on the river.

"I've been doing it ever since 1994, and it's a 24-hour day, seven-days a week job. Just as quick as it gets to where we can go again, we'll go back to taking people to work," says Lewis.

Reasons for suspending services to the ferry in the past include high winds, mechanical issues, debris moving down the river, and flooding; however, flooding can cause closures to last weeks - impacting drivers, the community, and businesses.

Rosalie Denton, owner of the Rose Country Kitchen on Main Street, says she is just one of a handful of businesses in town that rely on people visiting Cave-in-Rock State Park through access of the ferry.

"There isn't much going on when we don't have the ferry," says Denton. "So it does affect our business, and we've just kind of learned to live with it and make the best of it," she adds.

As News 3 spoke with residents around the town, it was clear that the community shares the same sentiment as the businesses peppered throughout it.

Eric Jamnik

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