Floating Bridge Engineers and Stakeholders Group share ten probing questions

The Floating Bridge Engineers and Stakeholders Group have shared ten very probing questions of the Isle of Wight council in relation to the ongoing saga of Cowes Floating Bridge 6. Read them within

floating bridge 6 in the River Medina approaching East Cowes slipway

Ahead of today’s Corporate Scrutiny Committee, the Floating Bridge Engineers and Stakeholders Group have shared some of the questions they have submitted to the Committee.

Many of the 43 questions submitted by Chairman of the Committee, Cllr Richard Hollis (see here), are questions that have already been asked over the last four years since the introduction of Floating Bridge 6 in letters, public questions, FOIs, public meetings, etc. and many of which were not answered by the council.

Ten probing questions
Here are ten of the questions from the Floating Bridge Engineers and Stakeholders Group:

  1. Why did the Council staff and leadership refuse to listen to and heed the advice of the professional engineers who since June 2017 told the Council that the floating bridge was not fit for purpose and predicted many problems including the prows and hydraulics and that the Council should not waste money on this one and instead get a new floating bridge?
  2. Can you confirm that the Council plans to recuperate, through legal proceedings, all of the millions of pounds of our taxpayer money expended and wasted on the floating bridge to date?
  3. In light of the fact that Mainstay Marine previously known as Mustang Marine before being brought out of Administration as a new company, did the IOW Council Staff do due diligence and check before they engaged in a legal case, that the companies would have enough money or insurance to pay out millions of pounds? 
  4. Why did the Council refuse to do an unbiased independent engineering audit in 2017 – a full physical inspection by an engineer – when local professional engineers warned the Council of the current and future problems and told Council that the floating bridge could never be fit for purpose, to assess whether the bridge could do its job or not, and instead the Council pretended that biased self-assessment and a tiny procurement audit by PwC were proper “assessments” of the floating bridge’s physical engineering problems?
  5. What is the total spend and overspend to date on the floating bridge and slipways i.e. an accurate update on the £4.6 million floating bridge project which ballooned to £6.4 million in September 2018?
  6. What were the floating bridge 6 project’s original projected whole life costs, one of the most important considerations when choosing a design, how much it will cost over its lifetime? The whole life costs include capital, operating, planned maintenance (in terms of cost of materials and hours to carry out this maintenance), and staff costs. (This is how much it will cost to operate and maintain, including staff costs, over the next 25 years).
  7. What are the projected whole life costs now, taking into account all of the overspend to date and the projected overspends in the future? The whole life costs include capital, operating, maintenance, and staff costs, including all of the current overspend (due to equipment and mechanical failures and cost of barge, Jenny boat etc), and the projected overspends for the remaining life of the FB6. Once again this should include capital, planned maintenance costs , potential upgrades to attempt to solve known issues, costs of barge and Jenny boat and staff costs.
  8. Regarding the larger staff and operational costs for floating bridge 6, how much more money was spent on the floating bridge in capital, operating, staff, and maintenance costs in calendar year 2020 compared with what was spent on the floating bridge in calendar year 2016?
  9. Will the Council confirm that the floating bridge must have very frequent crossings and will guarantee that it will have very frequent crossings – as frequent as the six return crossings an hour we were promised in the requirements, like floating bridge 5 had in the 1980s – so that customers will wait the short wait times for the floating bridge, helping the economy?
  10. Why is it that the papers presented to the Scrutiny Committee by the Cabinet Member for Infrastructure and Transport, fail to mention the report entitled “Causal and Impact Analysis – Failures of the Floating Bridge #6 Project” which details specific engineering and procurement problems, written by a professional engineer and presented to the Solent LEP Full Board on Friday 22nd June 2018? I remind you that the Council Leader, Cllr Dave Stewart, is a member of that Board.

Image: © With kind permission Emma Gee

Tuesday, 9th March, 2021 3:27pm

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Filed under: Cowes, East Cowes, Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight News, Roads

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2 Comments on "Floating Bridge Engineers and Stakeholders Group share ten probing questions"

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Mr Magoo

Are these questions posed by a group or an unnamed individual pursuing a personal agenda? The last sentence begins “I remind you”.