The return of the Floating Bridge could be delayed once again – despite already being pushed back to November – after further issues were identified.
As previously reported by Island Echo, the Cowes to East Cowes service has been out of action since the end of August when a major fault with one of the engines was found. It was expected to come back this month (October) after the council was advised to replace the drive motor.
The extent of the damage was greater than anticipated, however, so the service’s return was pushed back to mid-November, but now another hold up in the return is on the cards.
Speaking after the corporate scrutiny committee on Tuesday, Cllr Phil Jordan, cabinet member for infrastructure and transport said there was a new fault with the chain-link ferry, which ‘came as a bit of a shock’.
“Both of the shafts that sit on the drive have gone. We are not aware of the extent of it, whether they are repairable or if they have to be replaced but they are specialist parts, they are not off the shelf.”
Confirming work on the troubled vessel is well underway, a council spokesperson said further issues had been identified which may impact the completion date. They included the condition of the brake units and the delivery of replacement parts, which were outside of the council’s control.
The spokesperson said the authority was committed to ensuring the service could resume as swiftly and safely as possible and sought to reassure residents it was doing everything possible to achieve that.
While the vessel is fixed, a passenger launch continues to operate.
The Solent Local Enterprise Partnership, which provided the funding for Floating Bridge 6, has requested an independent government review be undertaken to determine whether the bridge is fit for purpose and is delivering the outcomes set out in the business case.
It has requested the investigation, which could cost between £10,000 and £15,000, be completed by December. The council says it remains in close contact with its specialist contractors and will provide a further update in due course.