Floating Bridge

The Floating Bridge will be off for a third week, the Isle of Wight Council has confirmed.

It did not resume its services this morning.

Scroll down to hear Isle of Wight Radio’s Iona Stewart-Richardson’s report…

The race is on to restore the Chain Ferry, which is credited with cutting traffic on the main Newport road, between Cowes and East Cowes, before work gets underway on St Mary’s Roundabout on 30 September.

In a statement, the Isle of Wight Council said,

“The reason for the extended delay is that, in addition to the completion of the current works to repair the prow and hinge mechanism on the Cowes prow side, we are taking the opportunity while the vessel is out of the water to also replace the prow and hinge mechanism on the East Cowes side to ensure the continued operation of the bridge.

“This will not only address the current problem but also minimise the likelihood of having to take the vessel out of service, should a similar problem arise during the St. Mary’s Roundabout road works.

“The council recognises the value and option the floating bridge will provide during the proposed St Mary’s road works to help mitigate disruption and provide an alternative to commuters and other road users in the Cowes and East Cowes area, as well as supporting the economy of those communities.

“Both prows will be tested and it is expected the vessel will be back in full service by 30 September. The foot passenger launch will remain in place in the meantime, offering a shuttle service for pedestrians between 5am to 11pm daily.”

The local authority had hoped it would be back on today, after work spilled into a second week because the fix was “not as simple” as had been hoped.

Iona Stewart-Richardson reports from East Cowes for Isle of Wight Radio:

In the meantime, an “East Cowes Curfew” continues as the replacement passenger launch finishes at 11pm.

Meanwhile, Cllr Dave Stewart has told the Isle of Wight’s LDR reporter,

“People need to understand we, as an administration, inherited the floating bridge the previous administration had ordered and — in my view — not kept a tight handle on, with lots of debate about the design we are dealing with legally.

“We are about to embark on some major roadworks though Newport. Now our goal is to make sure that the floating bridge is available so people can use it.

“I know people feel it is frustrating. But there is more work planned and we will get to a place where I am satisfied it is not just good and reliable, but it is good and reliable pretty much most of the time.”

Between May and August, the floating bridge carried 199,735 foot passengers and 78,234 care, operating for 2240 hours.
Floating Bridge 6 cost £3.2 million and was launched in May 2017.
A report published by the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership in November revealed the problems that had plagued the vessel cost more than £6.4 million.
Additional reporting by Louise Hill, Local Democracy Reporter