We need this vital water transport link to happen

For anyone who has had to suffer the hell that is the Portsmouth to Southampton daily commute along the M27, the news that a ship could ease the pressure will be music to their ears.

Thursday, 15th December 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 15th December 2016, 11:22 am

Wightlink’s new managing director Keith Greenfield has suggested that, as part of the £45m revamp of the Gunwharf Quays ferry terminal, proposals to link the two cities by ship could be explored.

It is estimated the journey from Portsmouth to Southampton could take 45 minutes – roughly the same time as a train from Fratton to Southampton Central, on a good day.

A bad day on the M27 can mean a journey of just 13 miles taking more than an hour – coupled with the frustration of sitting in traffic during the rush hour.

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The only question is, why didn’t they think of this before?

Money will be a huge factor in it.

It’s going to cost millions to put the transport scheme together.

And then there is the red tape involved in getting permission to cross the busy shipping lane.

But it will be worth it.

As Portsmouth City Council leader Donna Jones states, other major cities around the world effectively use their waterways.

It’s time we did the same to end the congestion, the snarl-ups and the frustration of having to navigate the M27.

Surely it would be more environmentally friendly too?

We need to get people out of their cars.

And it could bring new jobs on both sides of the water.

What’s not to like?

But it needs to be hardy. Hovercrafts are too vulnerable to bad weather. Like Mr Greenfield says, we need a ship.

The hope is that both unitary authorities, Wightlink and the port authorities all work together on this to make it happen.