10/02/2014 02:19 EDT | Updated 12/02/2014 05:59 EST

Cape Breton ferry repairs to be five weeks late, transportation minister says

HALIFAX - Nova Scotia's transportation minister says there have been unforeseen delays in repairing a ferry that provides service across St. Ann's Bay in northern Cape Breton.

Geoff MacLellan says the Torquil MacLean will be put back in service in about three weeks, which is about five weeks longer than originally planned when the vessel was taken into drydock in mid-July.

The length of time it's taking to make repairs to the ferry was questioned Thursday by the Progressive Conservative member for Northside-Westmount.

Eddie Orrell also said he wanted to know how much costs have gone up.

MacLellan says the price for the fix has increased by an additional $280,000 from the original tender of $776,000 due to the added repairs.

The Scotian ferry replaced the Torquil MacLean for the summer, but it has been out of service for eight days over the last month due to issues with hydraulics.

MacLellan says those problems are repaired and he expects the Scotian will operate on schedule as the work is finished up on the Torquil MacLean.

Without the ferry, drivers can take a highway route to get across St. Ann's Bay but it adds to travel time.