Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Tidal delay to new Cowes 'floating bridge' ferry

New floating bridge Image copyright Isle of Wight Council
Image caption The new vessel is due to be delivered next month

The launch of a new chain ferry has been delayed because engineers are waiting for a low enough tide to complete a slipway.

The replacement Cowes Floating Bridge vessel, linking Cowes and East Cowes on the Isle of Wight, had been due to come into service by the end of March.

However, engineers must wait for spring tides to complete the lowest part of the slipway where the chains attach.

It is hoped the ferry will now start in early May, after staff training.

Image copyright Isle of Wight Council
Image caption The old floating bridge made its final journey shortly after midnight on Tuesday

The previous vessel was taken out of service at the start of January after 40 years of service.

Drivers travelling between the west and east sides of the River Medina face a 10-mile diversion via Newport, although a replacement launch is in operation for foot passengers.

The Isle of Wight Council said the new ferry, being built in Wales by Mainstay Marine, would carry more vehicles than its predecessor and would make "faster, more regular" crossings.

The ferry office said it hoped 20 vehicles would fit on the new vessel, compared with 10 or 11 on the old ferry.

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