The Jamestown Ferry
(also known as the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry
) is a free automobile and bus ferry
service across a navigable portion of the James River
. It carries State Route 31
, connecting Jamestown
in James City County
with Scotland Wharf
in Surry County
The service provides the only vehicle crossing of the river between the James River Bridge
downstream at Newport News
and the Benjamin Harrison Memorial Bridge
upriver near Hopewell
. It is toll-free and operated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by the Virginia Department of Transportation
(VDOT). Operations are based at the Scotland Wharf in Surry County.
The Jamestown Ferry service was privately established in 1925. The Commonwealth of Virginia
acquired it and the Department of Transportation (VDOT) assumed operations in 1945. It runs it as a state service.
The ferryboat Captain John Smith
made the first automobile-ferry crossing of the James River on February 26, 1925. The privately owned business was founded by Captain Albert F. Jester. After the Captain John Smith
was retired in the early 1950s, the deckhouse was put into adaptive use. For another 50 years, it was used as a private waterside cottage, perched on pilings in the Elizabeth River
. In 2003, the deckhouse was removed and donated to a preservation group in Surry County.
Bridge alternative considerations