Final plank laid on Wightlink’s new Ryde Pier walkway

Andy Whitlock from Knights Brown screws in the final plank with Wightlink’s Dean Murphy

The final plank has been laid in Wightlink’s new pedestrian walkway linking the FastCat terminal at Ryde Pier Head with Ryde Esplanade, which will be opened this summer.

Wightlink’s Head of Port Operations Dean Murphy was on hand to watch the final screws being driven into the last decking board by Andy Whitlock from contractors Knights Brown.

Built in 1814, Ryde Pier is the UK’s oldest and the second-longest seaside pier in the country at half a mile. The walkway has been built on the Victorian cast-iron piles of the old tramway, next to the railway pier. Horse-drawn trams first carried holiday makers along the Pier when the tramway opened in 1864, then steam, electric and petrol-driven trams were used. Trams were withdrawn in 1969.

“Strollers now have their own path, away from cars and bicycles, making Ryde Pier more pleasurable for people who want to walk by the sea or travel on foot to and from Wightlink’s FastCats,” says Dean Murphy. “New shelters and seats will offer everyone a chance to relax and enjoy the beautiful views across the Solent.”

Knights Brown rose to the challenge of transforming the historic pier, working through the night around high and low tide to complete the project. Crews removed more than 350 tonnes of old steelwork, replacing them with new steel, and installed almost 3,000 decking boards (more than two kilometres of greenheart timber) and 1.5 km of decorative handrails.

The works to Ryde Pier are part of a £10 million project by Isle of Wight Council as part of the Government’s Transforming Cities Fund to upgrade Ryde Transport Interchange. It includes improvements to Ryde Esplanade railway station and the bus station, and enhanced cycle-links. Network Rail is also carrying out essential maintenance and improvement work including strengthening the railway pier for the next 60 years.

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