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East Cowes

High Level Bridge over the River Medina - November 1890

A meeting of the Cowes Local Board was held on Monday 3rd November 1890 to discuss the proposal to build a high level bridge over the River Medina at Cowes. The chairman Mr. Fellows said he had called the special meeting to allow board members to meet Mr. Russ the surveyor for the proposed bridge. He reminded members that at the last meeting it had been proposed and seconded that they should met Mr Russ, and he had arranged the meeting in line with that proposal.

Prior the main matter for the discussion the chairman asked the clerk to read out two letters that had been received by the committee. The first was from Mr. Coverdale about arranging a meeting to discuss the slipway at the Fountain Hotel; the chairman said that a meeting had been arranged for the following week. The clerk gave the committee a brief outline of the present state of negotiations concerning the slipway at the Fountain Hotel. He said that a new lease was asked from the late Mr. Ward who had replied stating, that he could not agree to a new lease for 99 years without consulting his son, A deputation had been formed to meet Mr Ward, but they had been informed that he was going on the continent and the meeting never took place.

The second letter was from Mr. Faulkner objecting to the special meeting being called at 1.45 pm. on Monday, has he was unable to attend and asked that the debate on the high level bridge be deferred until the regular meetings on Tuesday evening. The members present agreed the chairman had acted correctly and the site meeting should go ahead.

The chairman then invited Mr. Russ to give a presentation on the proposed new high level bridge. Mr Russ opened by saying that he assumed all members was aware of the need for better communications between East and West Cowes. The solution to this problem could be achieved by the construction of a high level bridge over the river. The bridge would be of sufficient height to allow the free movement of shipping on the river below.

The proposed high level bridge would begin in West Cowes at Newport Road to the west of Gas House Lane and cross over the railway and river and finish by the Bible Christian Chapel in East Cowes, traffic would then feed into Adelaide Grove. The height of the bridge would be 115 feet above high water mark on a spring tide, and the opening would be 200 feet between piers. The gradient on the West Cowes approach would be one in sixteen and the East Cowes side one in twenty. There was no intention to have any opening span in the bridge or to make any provision for foot passengers.

The chairman inquired if the height of 115 feet was sufficient, Mr Russ said yes, but the largest vessels would have strike their top-gallent masts.

The chairman said in his opinion the bridge was to far up river, and another member asked what level tolls have been proposed. In response, to the question of toll charges the chairman said they would need to look at the bill before any charges were fixed.

In reply to a question Mr Russ said the gradient in Mill Hill Road was one in eighteen as against the proposed bridge gradient of one in sixteen.

In reply to the question on location, Mr. Russ said that by putting the bridge in the proposed location they hoped to avoid clashing with yachting interest. With regard to a more central location below the ferry, there was an objection to the bridge positioning on the East Cowes side near the Old Road opposite Slatwood.

Mr Atkey said he understood the estimated cost of the bridge construction to be around £60,000 to which the infrastructure costs would have to be added. In response the chairman said that at this stage not all costs were known and those would have to be agreed with the shareholders.

Mr. Russ said in addition to bridge costs there would be parliamentary expenses.

The chairman said the proposed bridge location was great for traffic but too far up the river for foot passengers. Responding to the chairman Mr Russ said the length of the bridge was 600 feet at low water mark and the pillars would be about 15 feet, and there would be two of them about 200 feet apart, but it may be possible to reduce this slightly.

The chairman said he thought 300 feet would be better and would reduce the opposition to the scheme. However if they got a provisional order on the scheme as it stood, it was not the slightest use to the people of East and West Cowes and there would be a lot of opposition.

Mr. Mathews a board member said he agreed with this view and the bridge needed to be in the vicinity of West Hill Road in West Cowes and the new road in East Cowes he also wanted more width and height.

Mr Atkey thought the best location would be by the by the ferry and there would be no reduction in river width.

Mr Watts a board member said he came into the room he had objections to the scheme, but would support the proposals before him.

In summing up, the chairman said that the majority of the board were of the option that the bridge should be nearer to the present steam ferry terminal, to minimise any river obstruction and the design should ensure as much height as possible. The yacht White Heather was only 105 feet to the water line and no pole masted vessel was as much as 115feet in height. The width of the river at the bridge was 200 feet at low water.

In concluding Mr. Russ said he understood the views of the board and would consider the implication and would report back in due course.

Editors note: We still do not have a bridge over the river as of 2013!

Source: County Press, November 1890.

This page was last edited on: 26th January, 2022 17:50:33

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