Floating Bridge: Understanding the extent of the works taking place

Many people were surprised the floating bridge would be out of action for vehicles for nearly three months, so OnTheWight sought to find out the extent of the work taking place to prepare for the new floating bridge.

floating bridge chains

It was announced last week that the Cowes floating bridge service for vehicles would be out of action for almost three months at the beginning of next year.

Drivers will be diverted via Newport until the replacement floating bridge comes into service at the end of March 2017.

Outline of works
Many people have raised concerns about the length of time the works to prepare the slipways etc will take, so OnTheWight sought more information about the planned work.

The Isle of Wight Council will be undertaking the following works:

  • Repositioning the northern chain to accommodate the increased width of the replacement bridge; this will include the construction of a new chain pit in Bridge Square, East Cowes
  • Resurfacing of both the Cowes and East Cowes slipways
  • Alterations to the pedestrian footways on the northern sides of both slipways; this will enable foot passengers to queue and board from this side without the need to cross vehicles that are being loaded/unloaded. All works have been agreed with the Councils PFI client team and Island Roads
  • Relocation of the two existing ticket machines at East Cowes to the north of the slipway approximately where there is a seat (which will be relocated)
  • Conversion of the existing waiting room to a store

Tidal restrictions
A spokesperson for IWC said,

“It must be borne in mid that a lot of the work is tidal and this, by its nature, extends the programme.”

Slipway safety
They went on to explain the the works taking place to the slipway,

“The aim is to provide a surface which is fit for purpose and has the necessary structural integrity whilst also being safe for vehicles and foot passengers.

“The current surface is, in places, uneven and difficult to clean and the intention is to ensure it is as safe as possible for foot passengers to use, as a result of the slipway work.”

Same operating hours anticipated
OnTheWight asked whether it’s anticipated the new floating bridge will operate for the same number of hours over the year that the current one does.

A spokesperson for IWC said,

“At the moment that is the intention, but as with all services it will be continually be reviewed and if not cost effective we may curtail the hours or, if there is a demand, extend them.”

Once the floating bridge has been taken out of service a passenger launch will be used to transport pedestrians across the water.

Image: © Allan Marsh

Tuesday, 22nd November, 2016 6:59am


ShortURL: http://wig.ht/2eL0

Filed under: Cowes, East Cowes, Ferry, Island-wide, Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight News, Roads, Top story, Travel

Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

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75 Comments on "Floating Bridge: Understanding the extent of the works taking place"

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Diogenese's Barrel

Spare a thought for the newly recruited floating bridge staff who have to manage pedestrian payments and control traffic movements.

They are charming courteous people doing a difficult job.

But they are on Zero Hours contracts.

What will happen to them during these three long winter months?

Steve Goodman

Pedestrians only on the launch, or will cyclists also be ferried as previously?


You can not make an omelette with out breaking eggs.

Diogenese's Barrel

It doesn’t take three months to make an omelette!

East Cowes

What exactly is entailed with this pedestrian pathway? Where is it going to be put and are any signficant alterations going to be made to the width of the slipway?

The slipway will be wider as the chains on the new ferry are wider apart as is the car portion of the deck, I think 4 cars wide instead of the current 3 and longer. There will be separation of foot passengers and cars so they can both be loaded at the same time. Not sure what they are going to do on East Cowes side as… Read more »
East Cowes
The East Cowes Town Council asked EngD University of Southampton students (PhD in Engineering) to study the floating bridge for nine months. They found that the bridge needed to be the same size due to the tides and that the slipways could not widened/dig further due to instability in that area. Where are you getting your information from? Did Island Roads do their research before authorising this… Read more »

There was planning under TCP/29858, P/01469/09

East Cowes

brown, I don’t understand your answer (I know those documents). Can you expand?


DB, unless you know something the rest of us don’t, there are no zero hours contracts at the IWC.


Diogenese's Barrel

Tyke; Only yesterday afternoon I was told by the lovely young lady operative that she expects to be laid off on January 2nd because she is on a Zero hours contract and that the other Floating bridge operatives will be checking the pedestrians’ tickets on the Jenny boats not her.

Luisa Hillard

I believe that they are short-term, and/or fixed length contacts as some of the temporary staff were to assist with ticketing before it become automated.

Chris Newman

Tyke, I have 2 jobs with IWC both are Zero Hours.

Allan Marsh

I see all passengers are to be marshalled on the northern side of the road so they don’t have to cross the flow of cars going on or off the bridge ,, Just one small problem with this is most people using the bridge walk down Ferry road so will be on the south side of the bridge and will have to cross the road anyway

East Cowes

Spot on, Allan Marsh! Which is why I alway board on the sides of the bridge that they don’t want us to go down – the north side going EC-WC, because we walk down the pavement towards Birmingham Road to go into Cowes, and the south side WC-EC because I’m going down Ferry Road.

Island Monkey

It factually is a shambles, at least as bad as the Undercliff Drive fiasco.

phil jordan
IM: The replacement of the Floating Bridge is not a shambles… factual or otherwise. Far from it. The whole replacement together with the necessary works here is providing another 25 years of continued crossing at this point… something I am absolutely certain that if we had not replaced the vessel, and the service ceased, we would have caused far, far more (justifiable) criticism from Island residents. Thankfully… Read more »
East Cowes

Phil Jordan, there are still problems with the floating bridge – money, engineering and health and safety.

phil jordan


Can you be more precise please…..

in terms of the new vessel, that is.



DB – that’s interesting and quite at odds with what the council had told us previously. The council saying one thing and doing another? Surely not….

Island Monkey

I think the public will make up their own minds about the competence here or lack of. Those poor foot passengers have three wet cold months to watch these minor, mostly unnecessary works progress at a snails pace. They’ll know how to vote in May too.

Your Undercliff sign says re opening 2014 Phil. It bodes well for the ferry eh.

phil jordan


I am going to say this one final time to you.

The works being undertaken here are more than necessary…. they are essential and in absolute contrast to your enduring assertions otherwise.

Luisa Hillard
‘Those poor foot passengers’ will still be able to cross during the works, in an enclosed boat, without having to wait for vehicles to load and unload. It is the drivers who will have to contend with going around via Newport who will struggle the most. As for competence, where did the Conservatives put the money that Margaret Webster and Edward Giles publicly claimed to have ‘secured’… Read more »

The council are damned if they do and damned if they don’t .Suddenly everyone on here is an expert. Let them get on with it.

Island Monkey

They have not ‘cut our funding’ thou have they. They are just not increasing it to the extent that you would wish. Let’s get it straight eh. The cuts are a myth, government spending is going up, not down.

steve stubbings

Yes. They have ‘cut our funding’. Let’s get that straight.
Where on earth do you get your ‘facts’?

phil jordan
IM: Your claims are becoming evermore ridiculous and nonsensical. There HAVE been direct cuts to this local authority by reductions to the Revenue Support Grant (RSG) since 2010. Year on year. The net effect of those cuts has reduced the available revenue funds (ie, the budget) to this Authority to be spent on services by around £76m since 2010. Those cuts are set to continue until 2020… Read more »
Island Monkey
Your total spending is rising, not falling. The total available to you has risen, not fallen, you face pressure it’s true, but Instead of dancing on the head of a pin, you should stick to facts. You have been making free choices, stop blaming the past, it’s the future that matters, and thankfully this administration is not likely to be a part of it. Our government is… Read more »

Government spending! I’m confused, I thought we were talking about our council’s budget!

phil jordan


We were. But for IM the facts are very uncomfortable indeed. So let’s move the goal posts…..

[and change them from football to rugby posts in the process…] !!

steve stubbings

What you have failed to come to terms with is the fact that that spend is not going to Local Authorities and that Government grant funding in our direction is significantly reduced.
IM, if you want to debate these topics in a civilised forum you really do need to get a handle on the facts or you’ll just end up making yourself look silly.

Island Monkey

£155 million every day. That’s how much the government is borrowing every day.

Every local authority in the country wants more. Our indies are just a tiny part of that, it’s not easy, but would you like them to be borrowing more? The debt for your children is currently £1,640,000,000,000

phil jordan
IM: This is now nonsensical. The figures are publicly available and as quoted to you above. Go and learn them instead of this endless unsupportable, alarming and inaccurate comments you continue to make. Just so that you understand the severity of the austerity measure you are making futile comments about … this Authority, between 2010 and 2020, will have had around £100m of available revenue spending capacity… Read more »
Island Monkey

I think it’s you who needs to get a grip Steve. Look at the real numbers. It’s worrying that you are in power without knowing the facts.

Island Monkey

As I will keep saying Phil, the total spent, and available to spend is more not less year on year. The facts are the facts. If you want people to sympathise, tell the truth about total spent, the bottom line!

The total debt is growing, where would you have them get more for you? Taxes, fuel, pension cuts maybe? How about defence, Trident perhaps?

steve stubbings

Are you STILL getting confused between the TOTAL amount the Government spends (on everything) and the grant funding for the Isle of Wight Council?

If your dad reduces your pocket money so you have less to spend on sweets, are you interested in the fact that he spends more every evening down the pub?

Luisa Hillard

Additional fact to counter the incorrect statements by Island Monkey:

“Over the five financial years 2011/12 –
2015/16 the council will have had its central government grant support reduced by
£33.4m (over 30%) on an ongoing basis” IWC Budget Papers, February 2016

phil jordan
IM: We ARE giving you the “REAL NUMBERS” for our Authority. We also *KNOW* the facts about our Authority. It’s our job to know these things. This is now two Members of the Executive (there’s a bit of a change from the last administration eh?) giving you data in a public forum and under their Member obligations drawn from the Constitution (go check those out as well…they… Read more »

Thanks again councillors, from those of us who do appreciate your public service, your improved public engagement, and your patient efforts to assist the simple.

Island Monkey

Two members in denial, two members haranguing a simple elector. You would think they’d be too busy saving the island to keep trying to distort the actual figures. The amount spent by IOW council has risen every single year, not fallen. Show us the year on year numbers if you dare.

steve stubbings

Haranguing? You are not only simple, but delusional. Councillor Jordan and I were merely rebutting your persistent false assertions. You have been given the figures already.

Island Monkey
Simple? More insults from elected members, oh dear. Shocking. I should complain if I could be a***d. You have not given us any numbers. Tell us how much you spent say, in the past 5 years. The total figure, it’s not hard. Then and only then can readers see who is telling porkies. The IOW council has spent more each and every year, the spending has increased,… Read more »

You keep saying Cllrs Jordan and Stubbings aren’t giving us the real figures.

It follows that, if you know they aren’t giving you the real figures, you must know what the real figures actually are.

What are they?

Put up, or shut up.

Steve Goodman
IM own goals; firstly, self identifying above as “a simple elector” (Island Monkey 23.Nov.2016 9:36am), and secondly for some time now using repeated lies and slurs in the manner of Trump and many more of our discredited politicians and others, presumably because (s)he finds the truth even more uncomfortable than most of us. On the plus side, many of the facts that IM and too many of… Read more »
Island Monkey

Who is the elected member? I’m not running the council bleating about cuts. I have acknowledged there are real pressures, but factually the sum spent by IOW council has increased every single year. Why won’t they admit it? Because it doesn’t suit their left wing anti Tory agenda.

Island Monkey, I suggest you put in an FOI to the Council regarding spending year on year. You obviously aren’t going to believe anything you are told by those hardened Marxists Mssrs Stubbings and Jordan. Then we will be able to settle this argument. I’m afraid though that at the moment one side is providing figures and reasoned argument and the other is ranting. I’ll keep an… Read more »
Overpowered councillors calling the electorate “simple” like it is bad being simple, perhaps if government and indeed local authorities weren’t so over complicated life would be a heck of alot easier? No doubt they will come back with a public apology or a skewed statement saying it was taken out of context, and they will wrongly think they have smoothed it over. The insipid independents who constantly… Read more »
Island Monkey

I assume that you think it is the councillor’s ranting? I am perfectly calm. I just think that they shouldn’t get away with making false claims, or concealing the truth.

Thank you both for your support.


Four posts exactly the same, blighting the whole forum is not very good!

Black Dog
Well said IM. Clearly you have hit a nerve and that does not sit well with them. Keep going Let us all hope the May elections are decisive and deliver a cohesive set of councillors whose (only) aim is to represent their electorate and come together as one to represent the island. There are some very good IoW councillors who do just that and yes a few… Read more »
Island Monkey

I agree, we do have some excellent independent councillors. I would be delighted to see them working with the Tories for the good of the Island. As electors, we can make it happen.

mike starke

OMG. May all your egos have a good trip!

Forgive me if I just carry on stabling the mounts of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, who rode into town, apparently unnoticed, some time ago.

Locally, nationally and internationally.

See you all in the fiery pit (about July 2017, I guess).


Too much Island Monkey business give us a break please.

Luisa Hillard
Following various claims by Island Monkey I have trawled through past Council Budgets to fact check. Council Budget (Net) in 2013-2014 £135,187 Council Budget (Net) in 2016-2017 £122,806 On this basis I would have to conclude that his claims are factually inaccurate. These figures clearly demonstrate that overall Council spending has decreased. This decrease has been due to central government cuts, compounded by the Conservatives freezing Council… Read more »
Luisa Hillard

*My last paragraph should have said discretionary services.

Island Monkey

The above is embarrassing. Go and look again Councillor.

If you’re going to claim you have had less money, please at least be honest enough to remember to list the annual 3% council tax rises. We do.

It is customary to list income in millions, 14/15 – 15/16 – 17/18.
Do they not give you any training?

Luisa Hillard
It is impossible to have a reasoned debate with someone who holds onto their position in the face of presented facts, although I find this typical of many Conservatives in the Council Chamber. If you have alternative figures that you can reference please do so and if correct I will accept it. But you have as yet failed to provide any to substantiate your claims. You argue… Read more »
Island Monkey

I ask you, how can you have a sensible debate with someone who writes’there has never been a 3% council tax rise’ and then admits it was 2.99%?

Are you serious?

I do not dispute that the direct grant was reduced, but the TOTAL AVAILABLE TO SPEND has in reality increased.

Island Monkey

Did you know about the council’s multi-million £ art collection?

Luisa Hillard

And what benefit would selling the family silver achieve when that would only provide capital that could be spent once? We need revenue – reliable, yearly income.

Art and historical artifacts are the heritage of this Island and there is a duty to preserve it for the people.

I don’t agree with selling assets for short-term fixes. We need to sweat our assets to generate income.

jack black

all this augument doesn’t alter the fact that the floating bridge is a tax on living in east cowes.

Luisa Hillard
@ Jack Black And Cowes who works at GKN, or shops at Waitrose, and any other person from the East Wight who parks in East Cowes and crosses to the Red Jet for commuting to the mainland. Or going on holiday. This is much wider than just East Cowes residents. There was an opportunity to keep it free: Budget proposal 2015: “The following amendment to the motion… Read more »

Sorry Jack, that’s a weak argument.

Using the floating bridge is more convenient than walking/cycling/driving/taking the bus the long way around.

Paying for convenience is not a tax.

Whatever next? Car parking charges are a tax on driving? Charges for gym membership are a tax on a healthy lifestyle?

No one is forced to use floating bridge!

Luisa Hillard
As DaveIOW says the alternative for pedestrians is to get the bus round, which costs at least £7 return, as opposed to £0.70 (£1 max). And requires a change at Newport. This change is the reason why the cost of the bus route for bus pass users counts as two singles each way and can increase the cost to the Council. Increased bus usage must be set… Read more »
Mick Barnard

As one of the original ticket collector’s I can confirm that we were ALL on zero hours contract.