It’s the end of an era as pontoon is torn up

MAROONED The old Gosport ferry pontoon in Portsmouth Harbour
MAROONED The old Gosport ferry pontoon in Portsmouth Harbour
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FOR hundreds of Gosport ferry users it is a satisfying sight.

The creaking old pontoon is finally being broken up for scrap after it was replaced earlier this year.

It is being torn up this week at the Baker Trayte Marine mooring at the top of Portsmouth Harbour.

To the delight of passengers, it was replaced after decades of service by a new £5m landing stage in June.

The leader of Gosport Borough Council Cllr Mark Hook said: ‘It’s a bit like watching a beaten up 15-year-old car being taken away as you upgrade to the latest model.

‘It’s the end of an era and we certainly welcome the new one.

‘I’m sure the travelling public much prefer the new single pontoon rather than the old three-part one which moved with the sea.

‘The new one is so much more comfortable and user-friendly.

‘I was travelling on the ferry earlier this week and, when you consider the comfort people now have on the Gosport side compared to the Portsmouth side, you see what a big improvement it is.’

The pontoon is expected to be completely torn up by next week.

It was towed away from the Gosport side and taken to Portchester Creek by construction firm Trant.

Now salvage workers are disposing of its concrete and plastic foundations and keeping the rest.

Contracts manager for Trant Andy Ricard said: ‘It’s being demolished at the moment. They are taking it to bits. The only bit that’s of any use is the bridge as the rest of it was made up of concrete and polystyrene.

‘There isn’t anything else you can do to it except break it up as the steel connections on the main bridge are well past their sell-by date so it’s just scrap metal.’

After a difficult journey across the North Sea from the Netherlands where it was built, the new ferry pontoon was installed in June.

The glass-panelled landing stage has less of an incline than the older one and was built in one piece to make it more stable in the water.

It is expected to last for more than 60 years.