Works planned to prepare for new floating bridge

The construction of the brand new £3.5 million floating bridge, funded by the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership, is progressing well and is on track to come into service at the end of March 2017.

The current floating bridge will make its last crossing on Monday 2 January 2017, before being retired from 40 years of dedicated service transporting passengers and vehicles between Cowes and East Cowes. It was built in 1975 and came into service on the River Medina in 1976. During its 40 year life it has operated 18 hours a day, 365 days a year, with a crossing time of no more than two and a half minutes every ten to 15 minutes. In recent years it has transported approximately 1.5 million pedestrians and 400,000 vehicles per year.

In preparation for the arrival of the new floating bridge, a replacement launch will operate for foot passengers from Tuesday 3 January, which will remain in place until the new floating bridge commences service in late March 2017. Vehicles will be diverted via Newport. This will enable substantial reconstruction work to be carried out on both slipways, as well as minor highways works to improve access for foot passengers. Although the council and its contractors aim to complete the works with minimum disruption to the public, some noise will be inevitable due to the nature of the work and there will be some minor disruption on the adjacent footways and highways. The council would like to thank residents in advance for their patience while the work is undertaken.

Councillor Shirley Smart, Executive member for public transport and tourism, said: “We are looking forward to the arrival of the new floating bridge which will have an increased capacity and improved facilities for foot passengers and cyclists. I am pleased that the construction of the new floating bridge is progressing well and look forward to seeing it start service this spring, serving the communities of Cowes and East Cowes for years to come.”

In January, the existing floating bridge will be moved to a nearby mooring on the River Medina until a buyer can be found. The council is currently inviting offers for its purchase and removal. An information pack containing copies of the original construction drawings, machinery details/layouts and a condition survey, together with a form of tender and the conditions of sale are available for anyone who wishes to make an offer to purchase the floating bridge.

To request a pack and for more information, please contact Sean Newton (email: or phone: 01983 821000), no later than Friday 16 December 2016.