At the end of last month News OnTheWight pored over a series of documents relating to the costs and losses of Floating Bridge 6 a vital link between Cowes and East Cowes at the mouth of the River Medina.
The custom-built bridge, which came into service in May 2017 and has experienced a catalogue of failures – impacting the local economy ever since – has now cost the Isle of Wight council considerably more than the original £3.2m price tag.
Read through the series
Through a detailed Freedom of Information request made by the Floating Bridge Stakeholders’ and Engineers’ Group, details of the losses and additional costs have been laid out by News OnTheWight for readers in the following articles:
- FB6 costs #1: Huge losses for Floating Bridge 6 revealed in this most comprehensive breakdown of running costs
- FB6 costs #2: Over £1m paid to Private Contractors and ‘Professional Services’ in just over two years
- FB6 costs #3: Not running the Floating Bridge in September led to a loss of nearly £100,000 in just one month
- FB6 deep dive #4: Last two years of Floating Bridge ticket earnings revealed
- FB6 deep dive #5: This is what it costs to run the Floating Bridge service. Here are the last two years of costs broken down
Stakeholders: “A resounding failure and a bottomless money pit”
Speaking on behalf of the Stakeholders’ and Engineers’ Group, Cameron Palin, told News OnTheWight,
“The most recent accounts from the Isle of Wight Council have shown Floating Bridge 6 has been a resounding failure and a bottomless money pit.
“The recent FOI shows that since August 2018 the Floating bridge has made an almost £1.2 million loss. Add that also to the £1.8 million project overspend in 2017-2018, it’s clear that taxpayers are forking out more money for a unreliable and unsustainable Floating Bridge, whilst the old Floating Bridge made healthy profits for the Council.
“The launch alone has cost the taxpayers an additional £200,000, and Seaclear, the boat pushing the Floating Bridge, has cost over £245,000.”
“This waste of public money is frankly not good enough”
Cameron went on to add,
“This does not include other costs such as for external contractors coming in to make repairs, and the extra parts which have been replaced and repaired frequently on the bridge; those costs have come in at a resounding £455,000. This waste of public money is frankly not good enough and residents of the Isle of Wight deserve better.
“The Isle of Wight Council are running an unviable business model. Residents, businesses, and engineers alike believe the only way forward now is to replace Floating Bridge 6.
“The Floating Bridge still has too many problems with cars scraping and long waiting times.”
Stakeholders: Side thrusters not the solution
Cameron finished by saying,
“Solutions to some of the problems such as side thrusters, which would be major surgery taking the Floating Bridge out of action for months, would cause yet more problems if they even would work, like costing a lot more fuel.”
Read the entire Deep Dive Series.