A new floating bridge that will better connect Cowes and East Cowes has been commissioned. The £3.2 million replacement floating bridge is currently being built by Welsh firm Mainstay Marine Solutions Limited.
Councillor Jonathan Bacon, Leader of the Council, said: “The new floating bridge will be more efficient than the current chain ferry, which has been in operation since 1976. Capacity will be improved to carry more vehicles. Having a new vessel will also help to improve reliability.”
The new chain ferry, due for delivery during winter 2016/17, will ensure the future connectivity between Cowes and East Cowes, for at least the next 25 years, and forms part of the wider Solent Gateways project. For the Island, the Solent Gateways project aims to: integrate transports links to and from the Island and across the wider area from Southampton, provide a vital tourism link, and to improve the public realm in East Cowes to make it a more welcoming destination. The funding agreement for the new floating bridge is currently being finalised with the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (SLEP).
Stewart Graves from Mainstay Marine, said: “We pride ourselves in our ability to provide bespoke solutions to individual vessel designs and look forward to working with Isle of Wight council to ensure that the bridge is delivered to time, within budget and to the highest of quality so that its users can enjoy its benefits for years to come.”
A new ticketing solution is also in progress and will be launched later in the spring, which will enable people to buy a ‘pre-paid card’ style ticket. Installation of the new self-service machines will take place in April.