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2 New ferries join Port Aransas fleet

July 9, 2011 at 2:09 a.m.

Former TxDOT Executive Director Michael W. Behrens of Yoakum, center, stands with his family on the deck of the ferry named in his honor.  The Behrens is one of two ferry boats recently dedicated in Port Aransas.

The Texas Department of Transportation dedicated two new ferry boats to the Port Aransas fleet.

The boats, named in honor of former Texas Department of Transportation Executive Directors Michael W. Behrens, of Yoakum, and Charles W. "Wes" Heald, are the first new ferries to join the fleet in Port Aransas since 2000.

The new vessels can carry as many as 28 passenger vehicles or up to 150 passengers and began service on July 1.

The older six ferry boats in the Port Aransas fleet carry only 20 vehicles. The ferry service averages about 2 million two-way vehicle crossings per year between Port Aransas and Harbor Island.

Since 1987, the transportation department tradition has named ferry boats in Port Aransas for former executive directors.

Heald, who worked for the agency for 40 years, served as executive director from March 1, 1998 until his retirement in August 2001. Behrens, who worked for the agency for 36 years, succeeded Heald and served as executive director from September 2001 until his retirement on Aug. 31, 2007.

Heald is a native of Spur, but considers Brownwood to be his hometown. He and his wife, Dorothy, live in Georgetown.

Behren and his wife, Karen, live in Yoakum.

Heald and Behrens are graduates of Texas A&M University.



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