The Floating Bridge Stakeholders group have slammed the Isle of Wight Council after the true cost of the service came to light in a recent report.
The floating bridge has cost the council more than £6.4 million, with around £500,000 of that money being spent on remedial option design works to the bridge since it came into service in May 2017.
A further £539,000 has been spent on the Jenny Lee replacement launch service, according to a report published by the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
The stakeholder group, which is made up of marine engineers and concerned residents, say they told the council in June last year to sell the bridge while it still had a good resale value.
The Floating Bridge Stakeholders group said: “When will the council stop throwing our money at this design failure? The floating bridge used to make extra money for the council’s coffers, now it is haemorrhaging literally millions of pounds.
“Our engineers pleaded to meet with the council free of charge to explain that these problems were not simply ‘teething problems’ or ‘snagging issues’ but fundamental design flaws, but the council steadfastly refused to meet.
“Which IW Council senior staff employee recommended to continuously put expensive sticking plasters on a known money pit, and who authorised it? Why did the council make a decision to keep funding this floating bridge without knowing whether it was fixable or not?
“Why did the council not immediately do a risk assessment in summer 2017 when it was clear from the beginning that there were big problems that would cost us millions of pounds with no guaranteed resolution?
“A year and a half later, cars are still scraping, the noises are extremely loud, and a massive barge is needed to push the floating bridge sideways so it can land on the slipway, keep yachts from catching their keels on the chains, and prevent the bridge from hitting the piles and GKN wall. And these aren’t the only problems.
“Nothing has changed, and we need our floating bridge to work as well as a road. Will the IW Council finally realise that they can save money by getting rid of this floating bridge and designing a new one properly that will once again make money for the IW Council, rather than costing Island residents more tax money, and will help, not hurt, local businesses?”
The council has been contacted for a response.
Breakdown of total costs so far:
Professional Fees (naval architect, owners reps etc): £328,764
Superstructure (construction, fit out, approvals: £3,031,249
Superstructure (contract variations): £431,412
Slipway design: £49,029
Chain survey, works, fees: £114,603
Noise mitigation works: £31,441
Project manager: £65,000
Other expenditure: £205,307
Known additional works £169,200
Extended Warranty: £65,000
Remedial options design work: £500,000
Replacement Passenger Launch Costs
Replacement Launch Costs (2017 and 2018): £439,281
Operative Employment costs: additional £114,000
Other operating incurred costs: additional £33,000
Savings in Floating Bridge 6 out of service: £47,000