Bridge to Success
A flagship contract for the replacement Floating Bridge for the Isle of Wight Council has been won by Welsh boat building firm Mainstay Marine Solutions Ltd based in Pembroke Dock in Pembrokeshire. The contract will create another 20 jobs in the region bringing the workforce up to 100.
Established in 1859 the Cowes to East Cowes Floating Bridge is one of the few remaining that has not been replaced by a physical bridge. The service has been owned and operated by the Island’s local authority since 1901.
The replacement floating bridge is being funded by the Isle of Wight Council and the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership as part of the East Cowes Regeneration Project – a major regeneration scheme on the Isle of Wight to create a long term, sustainable vibrant
community and better connections to and across the Isle of Wight. Councillor Shirley Smart, Executive member for Public Transport, Tourism, Recreation and Heritage at the Isle of Wight commented: ‘The council recognises that the floating bridge provides an essential link between Cowes and East Cowes, and accordingly has allocated capital funding towards the project as well as working with the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership to obtain grant funding for its replacement. The proposed design is striking, yet
practical, and I’m sure that users will see the benefits of this necessary investment and that the replacement bridge will ensure that this valuable service continues for the next 25-30 years’.
Operating 18hrs a day, 365 days a year, with a crossing time of no more than 2.5 minutes
every 10–15 minutes, the ferry transports a total of around 1.5 million pedestrians and
400, 000 vehicles annually.
Designed as a drive through, roll-on roll-off chain ferry with hydraulically operated loading
and unloading ramps at each end of the vessel, the deck will have 4 lanes for vehicles with
additional space for the stowage of motorbikes, scooters and bicycles.
Designed in accordance with the BV’s classification of Inland Navigation Vessels, the 37m
long vessel will be capable of reaching up to 5 knots and will carry a total deadweight of no
less than 52.65 tonnes.
The project is due for completion at the end of the year with trails and commissioning at
Cowes January 2017.
Stewart Graves commented ‘We knew from the outset that this project has an extremely
demanding timescale both in terms of design input and manufacturing, however, we pride
ourselves in our ability to provide bespoke solutions to individual vessel designs so we
knew this would fit our remit perfectly. We are delighted to have won the contract and truly
see this as a flagship project which we will set the bar high in terms of proving our
capabilities. We look forward to working with Isle of Wight Council to ensure that the bridge
is delivered to time, within budget and to the highest of quality so that its users can enjoy its
benefits for years to come’.
The company will be recruiting imminently for skilled workers in welding, fabrication and
marine painting. The firm is now one of the largest employers in the area with continued
growth expected in future years.
The news has been warmly welcomed by Welsh Economy Minister Edwina Hart who said:
‘This is really good news and I am delighted to hear how Mainstay Marine is expanding,
winning significant new orders and creating highly skilled jobs in the area’.
More on Mainstay Marine Solutions Ltd :The latest news forms part of an on-going success story for the Pembroke Dock company.
Recent projects have included the build of a 50 ton, 20m, Wind Farm Support vessel for
Turbine Transfers, a large Multicat refit, and a £3.6m contract for the build of three 19m
Pilots Boats for the Port of Milford Haven.
The company also fabricated and assembled the ‘DeltaStream’ Tidal Energy Device – the
first private marine project to be fully developed in Wales. The 400KW demonstration device
weighing 150 tonnes and with a frame 16 m long by 20 m high was deployed into Ramsey
Sound test site in December last year.