Anticipation builds for £45m Wightlink development as progress reaches milestone

ANTICIPATION is building for Wightlink's new £45m flagship and terminal upgrades after another milestone was reached.

Thursday, 2nd March 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:42 am
Work at the Fishbourne side

Contractor Trant is starting to put together the new ‘customer experience’ building at Wightlink’s Gunwharf terminal.

It is part of a major investment which includes the launch of a new ferry for the Portsmouth Gunwharf-Fishbourne route that will be able to take 1,000 passengers and 178 cars per crossing.

Project director John Burrows said: ‘After many months of preparation, we can now see our £45m development start to take shape.

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Work at Wightlinks Gunwharf terminal in Portsmouth

‘However, while it is all very exciting, the works will inevitably cause some disruption for our customers and we apologise for any inconvenience we may cause to their journeys.’

Blue steel beams at the site will form the skeleton of a three-storey structure to house a Costa Coffee branch on the top floor, a 24/7 ‘grab and go’ food area on the ground floor and offices on the first floor.

Work will soon begin on the installation of the two-tier boarding ramp in Portsmouth.

This is set to allow vehicles to be loaded and unloaded on two levels simultaneously and more quietly.

Wightlink's new flagship comes together at the Cemre shipyard in Turkey

As contractors will need more of the terminal at this time, Gunwharf Road car park is set to be used as an overspill marshalling area to keep things moving on schedule.

The existing Portsmouth Gunwharf ticket office will be closed from Friday, March 10, until later on this year.

Cars will be checked in at the entrance to the car park and freight will be checked in at the gatehouse.

All Portsmouth-Fishbourne ferries will be diverted to Portsmouth International Port for six days on March 7, 8, 9, 28, 29 and 30.

Work at Wightlinks Gunwharf terminal in Portsmouth

At Fishbourne, concrete supports for the ramp are now in place and the steel ramp will be built after Easter. Steelwork will be brought to the island via barge.

The new ship will be larger than the company’s current flagship St Clare and is anticipated to begin operating this summer.

Wightlink's new flagship comes together at the Cemre shipyard in Turkey