The long running saga of Floating Bridge 6 made the national news today (Saturday).
The £3.2m Floating Bridge, that was first launched in 2017 to take foot and vehicle passengers across the River Medina between Cowes and East Cowes, has racked up eye-watering costs in the last three years and been taken out of service more than 60 times.
A segment (listen below) by national BBC journalist Duncan Kennedy featured on BBC Radio 4 just after the 8am headlines.
BBC Radio 4
It followed a four minute segment at 7.45am from the same reporter, in which he speaks to local residents and including local councillor Cameron Palin and IW councillor, Karl Love. News OnTheWight understands the segment will also be featured on national BBC TV news.
News OnTheWight’s carried out a week-long analysis and reporting of the Floating Bridge costs – our Deep Dive series in October/November this year (2020). Since then there’s been an uptick in reporting from the BBC: South Today; Politics South; and now this.
Calls for resignation
In the last three years residents, businesses and opposition councillors have called for the Bridge to be replaced and for the Cabinet member responsible, Cllr Ian Ward, to resign.
What the report said
“People on the Isle of Wight have called for the replacement of a ferry service that keeps breaking down. The chain ferry, which links East and West Cowes has been out of action dozens of times in the three years it’s been operating. Duncan Kennedy reports. “
“It’s official name is floating bridge number six, but local people have dubbed it Floaty McFloat Farce.
“The chain ferry is designed to carry around 20 cars across the river Medina, but since it replaced an older version in 2017, the 3 million pound vessel has been out of action nearly 60 times, including for most of last week. It’s faced a series of problems with everything from its hydraulics, to docking. When tides are strong, it even needs a separate barge to help it across.
“And when it’s not running at all, drivers are forced to take a 10 mile road detour. The Isle of Wight County council, which operates, it says it’s trying to resolve the issues. There’s been a floating Bridge in Cowes since 1859, but local people, who’ve staged street protests to express their anger, say the latest version should be placed.”
“Duncan Kennedy reporting. Ten past eight is the time.”
See the archive
News OnTheWight’s Floating Bridge archive includes over 200 articles specifically related to FB6.
Listen to the full report on BBC Sounds by skipping to 45mins into the programme.
Image: © Cameron Palin