Wightlink’s £45million investment in a new ship for the Portsmouth-Fishbourne route and port improvements has achieved another milestone.
Contractors Trant are starting to put up the new customer experience building at Wightlink’s Gunwharf terminal in Portsmouth. The blue steel beams will form the skeleton of a 3-storey structure to house a Costa Coffee branch on the top floor, a 24/7 ‘grab and go’ food area on the ground floor and offices on the first floor. Historical interpretation boards will be installed on site so customers can learn more about Wightlink’s heritage in the city.
Wightlink’s Project Director, John Burrows said:
“After many months of preparation, we can now see our £45 million development start to take shape. However, while it is all very exciting, the works will inevitably cause some disruption for our customers and we apologise for any inconvenience we may cause to their journeys.”
Work will begin soon on the installation of the 2-tier boarding ramp in Portsmouth. As contractors will need more of the terminal at this time, the Gunwharf Road car park will be used as an overspill marshalling area.
The existing Portsmouth Gunwharf ticket office will be closed from Friday 10th March until the Autumn. Cars will be checked in at the entrance to the car park and freight will be checked in at the gatehouse. The Costa café, toilets and foot passenger waiting area will remain open.
All Portsmouth-Fishbourne ferries will be diverted to Portsmouth International Port (PIP) for six days on 7th, 8th, 9th and 28th, 29th, 30th March. All customers have been contacted about the revised timetable.
At Fishbourne, concrete supports for the ramp to the linkspan are now in place and the steel ramp will be erected after Easter. The steelwork will be brought to the Island by barge to minimise disruption.
The MoorMaster units that will secure both the new ship and St Clare to the berths at Gunwharf and Fishbourne have arrived, the frames are in place and the suction pads will be installed soon. This innovative system will cut turnaround times by 3 minutes and help keep services on time.
In Turkey, shipyard workers at Cemre in Yalova have now cut and assembled 14 out of the 22 steel blocks needed to form the hull of the ship. Meetings have taken places with Lloyds Register to finalise the design specifications and all is on track for Wightlink’s new flagship to be completed in Spring 2018.