A local councillor has hit back at the solution to solve the troubled floating bridge’s problems stating ‘it’s not a sticky plaster you can put on’.
As the Isle of Wight Council continues to consider the only ‘viable’ option to resolving Floating Bridge 6’s issues — side thrusters— local town councillors have become even more sceptical of the idea.
At a meeting of East Cowes Town Council last week, Alex Minns, the Isle of Wight Council’s Assistant Director of Neighbourhoods, said once legal mediation had been addressed, the administration would be in a position to announce the proposed next steps.
Councillor Cameron Palin, however, said ‘numerous’ local engineers had pointed out side thrusters would not work and now 4 years down the line, the Isle of Wight Council is no closer to sorting out the issues.
The most significant issue with the vessel, according to Mr Minns, is that it is unable to achieve the desired clearance over the chains at certain tides and after exploring several options, independent marine engineers have evaluated the options and recommended a preferred option to the council.
Cllr Palin went on to say he had heard if the side thrusters were to be installed the vessel would need to be out of the water for 6 months. He said:
“It is not like a sticky plaster you can put on, this is major engineering work that needs to happen and it is quite frankly not good enough that we have had little information.”
The town council resolved to write to the cabinet member for infrastructure and transport, Cllr Ian Ward, requesting up-to-date costings, including the overall deficit, since May 2017, as the town’s economy ‘has been ruined by the bridge’ along with the recent Covid pandemic.
Floating Bridge 6 has been out of action 5 times in a month, both for planned maintenance to the vessel’s hydraulic pipes and when unexpected issues occurred.
Cllr Dave Stewart, leader of the Isle of Wight Council, has said a ‘substantial claim’ had been submitted as part of the legal mediation as talks continue.
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