Standing room only: Balboa Island Ferry to be closed to vehicles for most of January

Cars and people on a ferry in front of a Ferris wheel and arcade building
The Ferris wheel at the Balboa Fun Zone is shown in 2009 behind one of the red-and-white ferries that shuttle cars, bicyclists and pedestrians between Balboa Peninsula and Balboa Island.
(Don Kelsen / Los Angeles Times)

Motorists hoping to visit or leave Newport Beach’s Balboa Island will have to take the long way around next month as the Balboa Island Ferry will temporarily close to vehicles.

Beginning Jan. 3, the century-old ferry, which carries vehicles and passengers through Newport Bay from the Balboa Peninsula to the island and back, will be open to foot and bike traffic only as the city begins electrical work on the island’s Agate Avenue, where the ferry terminal is located.

The work is part of a $6.2-million utility “undergrounding” project, which will bury overhead power and other utility lines, Newport Beach assistant city engineer Mike Sinacori told the Orange County Register.


Construction is slated to end Jan. 28, according to the ferry’s social media page.

The temporary suspension of vehicle service will add around six miles to the journeys of motorists hoping to take their cars between the island and the peninsula.

The ferry shortens that trip to less than 1,000 feet.

One-way fares for the minutes-long ride are $1.25 for adults and 50 cents for children 5 to 11. For bicyclists, the fares rise to $1.50 for adults and 75 cents for children.