Hampshire & Isle of Wight

New Medina River bridge 'could ease Newport congestion'

Cowes floating bridge Image copyright Google
Image caption The council said any new crossing would not replace the floating bridge at Cowes

Plans to build a bridge across Isle of Wight's largest river in a bid to ease congestion in Newport have been revived by the island's council.

A year-long study is being commissioned into building a crossing over the River Medina within the next decade.

The council said the bridge would not replace the chain ferry at Cowes which is the only crossing north of Newport.

Isle of Wight council leader Dave Stewart said: "We want to build this bridge as soon as possible."

The study, involving Hampshire County Council transport experts is due to start this summer, the council said.

'Secure funding'

Mr Stewart added: "There is much work to do to work up any plans, and we will need to secure funding and possibly land purchases, but this study is the start of what could be an ambitious and exciting project for the island into the next decade.

"Everyone is fully aware Newport is plagued by congestion and this is potentially an excellent solution to ease traffic going through the town but also encourage sustainable transport."

In 1987, Isle of Wight Council commissioned a feasibility study into a new crossing over the river which runs between Cowes and Newport but the plans were shelved.

The current "floating bridge" chain ferry which takes vehicles between Cowes and East Cowes has been beset with problems since launching in May 2017, including groundings, complaints about noise and damage to cars.

Isle of Wight Council figures showed the number of vehicle journeys on the ferry had halved in the three years from 2015/16 to 2017/18.

The alternative route takes traffic through the county town of Newport, five miles away.

The council said a new bridge would allow people heading between Ryde and the west of the island to bypass Newport.

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