Lifting problems for Twin Sails Bridge in Poole Harbour

Ongoing problems with the Twin Sails Bridge, which opened in Poole Harbour in April, have led to local berthholders deserting marinas within Holes Bay, “hurting the marine and leisure economy” in the process, according to one local councillor.
Councillor Philip Eades has written to Poole Harbour Bridges Operating Board to voice the concerns of local boaters and marine businesses.
In his letter, Eades says, “I have spoken to boatowners who are moving their boats away from Poole as a result of the number of bridge malfunctions since its opening. I have also been advised that marinas in the inner harbour are struggling to retain users as a result of the same problem.”
Malfunctions of the bridge have caused some boaters to be stuck in the holding basin for over two hours. There has also been some confusion over bridge lifting times.
Lance Murdoch, assistant manager at Davis’s Boatyard, told the ‘Bournemouth Echo’ that the problem was already having a detrimental effect on its business, “We have had a number of berthholders not renew, citing the bridge. They’ve gone to the Port of Poole or the yacht haven on the quay”.
MBM spoke to John Rice, engineering manager of Transport Services at Poole Council, who admitted that problems with the bridge had led to boaters relocating, but he said local businesses would have been aware before the scheme went ahead that this would be
a possibility. “It was always acknowledged that there would be a change to the business opportunities upstream of the bridges. Clearly the council has a role to minimise this impact by ensuring reliable operation of the bridges, which is what the construction and maintenance teams are totally committed to achieving.”
Rice also said that the contractor’s team, together with the council’s engineers, had made significant progress in resolving the malfunctions, “The traffic barrier issues and intermittent control system faults have now been rectified and since the end of July there have only been two delayed lifts out of approximately 300 lifts and one of these was due to a power supply issue outside of our control.”
According to Rice, the timetable of the two-bridge system was produced following consultation with the maritime community. He also said it had been amended since April in response to requests from boaters and that the level of confusion over bridge opening times has “dropped significantly over the past few months,” as regular users have become more familiar with the arrangements.

Have you been affected by the bridge?
Contact the Greg on the MBM news desk, Greg_goulding@ipcmedia.com