SIDE thrusters are the latest solution being put forward to solve the problem of the stricken floating bridge.

Isle of Wight Council officer Alex Minns told a meeting of the corporate scrutiny committee, a number of options, including increasing the number of piles in the river to hold the boat in place, had been looked at but didn't 'fulfil all the requirements' to get the floating bridge back up and running reliably.

The most feasible option, the council says, is to install side thrusters to keep the boat on course through fast-flowing spring tides — meaning the push boat, which helps Floating Bridge 6 cross the Medina, would no longer be needed.

Read more: No new Floating Bridge — despite 'perfect storm of destruction'

Mr Minns said: "We are looking to work with a company called Longitude [marine engineering experts] who are looking at eight options, which are being evaluated independently so we can ensure those all work.

"We are waiting for a report to come back, at the end of October, which we hope will allow us to select the best option and hopefully solve these problems once and for all."

He also acknowledged the vessel has been plagued with problems since it was first installed in May 2017 — with the main, remaining problem now being the insufficient clearance over the chains. All the other problems, Mr Minns said, have been or are being resolved.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Cllr Dave Stewart, leader of the council, said while the thrusters would be a significant capital investment for the side thrusters, it would be 'a positive impact' on the council's revenue budget to not have to pay for the push boat — which costs the council around £97,000 a year.

However, as reported by the Isle of Wight County Press, the push boat has cost nearly £64,000 this year between January and June. Read more about the mounting costs of the Floating Bridge here.

Although, not all councillors were happy with the latest proposed modification.

Cllr Julie Jones-Evans questioned why more modifications were being made to a boat that was supposedly designed for the Island.

She said:

"It appears to me, and everyone I speak to on the street, the vessel is not designed for our river crossing. When are we going to finally realise the design is fundamentally flawed?"

Cllr Stewart said that was the subject of the legal discussions currently taking place but his continued priority remains to be getting the service back in action for the communities of East and West Cowes.

Read more: Floating bridge stakeholders want 'honest answers' on its future

Cllr Debbie Andre questioned whether the side thrusters would have any environmental impact on the river but Cllr Stewart said while they would consider that there were a number of particular issues in that estuary which appear to have affected the environment.

Isle of Wight County Press:

In July, during routine maintenance, a significant problem was found in the hydraulics which meant all parts were taken out, stripped down and put back together again.

However, the part delaying the project longer was one of the main motors of the hydraulics system which had considerably more damage than anticipated.

It is now hoped by the Isle of Wight Council the crossing will be back in service by October 17, in time for half term.

Read more: Further delay for Floating Bridge — no full service until half term

It was also revealed at last night's meeting that the Isle of Wight Council has yet to contractually take over the floating bridge from the shipbuilders.

In response to the public question, Cllr Richard Hollis said it was due to the pending resolution of issues experienced on the vessel.