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There’s good news coming for interstate commuters
Mississippi River at Lansing
Maiden Voyage Boat Tours
MAIDEN VOYAGE BOAT TOURS, owned by Robert and Deb Vavra, has been contracted by Iowa Department of Transportation to provide a 'water taxi' service for workers, students and shoppers who have been inconvenienced by the closure of the Blackhawk Bridge across the Mississippi River at Lansing. The free water taxi service will launch as soon as drivers for the vans that will take commuters where they need to go have been secured.

LANSING - There’s good news for those that have had their lives turned upside down by the closure of the Lansing Bridge. Plans are forging ahead to begin to provide a water taxi service over the navigation channel, running from the Lansing Marina to the Big Slough Boat Landing on the Lansing Dike on the Wisconsin side.

Water Taxi docking locations
The water taxi service provided by Maiden Voyage Tours will run from a location near the Lansing Marina in Iowa to the Big Slough Boat Landing in Wisconsin.

The water taxi service will be provided by Robert Vavra, the owner of the Maiden Voyage Tours business from McGregor, Iowa. According to Vavra, the water taxi will run seven days-per week, from 7-10 a.m., 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and 3-6 p.m.

Clayton Burke from Iowa Department of Transporation (IDOT) confirmed that a special dock constructed for Vavrus’ 49-passenger boat will be in place at the Big Slough Boat Landing by the end of this week. He said that service will begin as soon as drivers for the vans which will provide a taxi service to workers, students and shoppers can be secured.

Current Wisconsin Big Slough Boat Landing dock site
Projected to be completed by the end of the week, this is the current state of development of the dock at the Big Slough Boat Landing under development by Iowa Department of Transportation.

The water taxi service will be provided free of charge, and there is ample parking on both the Wisconsin and Iowa side for commuters to leave their vehicles. The service will be paid for by IDOT. Vavra said that his boat is U.S. Coast Guard certified for passenger service.

Current state of Lansing Bridge repair project -31324
As of Wednesday, March 13, this is the current state of the existing Blackhawk Bridge outside of Lansing. The site was a beehive of activity, with obvious intention to reopen the bridge to interstate traffic as soon as possible and safe.

Vavra, when he is not pinch hitting to provide emergency water taxi service, runs a business providing Mississippi River Boat Tours, with a Friday night Live Music Cruise, and a Saturday night Sunset Cruise. Tours board at 7 p.m., starting in mid-May and running through mid-August. From mid-August to mid-September, boarding time is moved up to 6 p.m.

“I’ve told IDOT that I’ll be available for the water taxi service as long as they need me,” Vavra told the Independent-Scout. “Most likely, I’ll simply run my tour business out of Lansing this year.”

More information about Vavra's Mississippi River Boat Tours can be found at