Water taxi scheme on the agenda

A water taxi service linking Salford Quays to Manchester city centre could be given the green light next week.

Salford mayor Ian Stewart will consider a report outlining proposals for the Irwell River Park Water Taxi Project on Monday 29 July.

It seeks approval to proceed with the construction phase for five landing stages between Media City UK and Chapel Wharf and sets out the project cost of £941,020.

Birse Construction is the preferred bidder for a £841,297 contract to build the five landing stages while Urban Vision is expected to continue through to the design and supervision phase of the work at a contract value of £267,332.

The five proposed landing points for water taxis are Media City UK, Ordsall Waterfront and Chapel Wharf, Salford; and Clippers Quay and the Imperial War Museum, Trafford.

Peel Ports has appointed Manchester Water Taxis to run the service.

Funding for the project is primarily being met from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund, which is contributing £801,560.

Trafford Council is providing £115,000 to deliver the Imperial War Museum North landing stage and Salford council's contribution is £24,460.

Trafford Council agreed to provide gap funding to enable the stage at IWM North to be included in the project after escalating costs led to suggestions that it be dropped.

Salford council commissioned an economic appraisal by Amion Consulting of the benefits of a proposed water taxi service in September 2011.

Salford City Council secured a Local Sustainable Transport Fund grant as part of a Transport for Greater Manchester bid to deliver three projects totalling £1.4m over three years.

Those projects focus on delivering additional cycle routes to Salford Quays, widening and improving accessibility to Irwell River Park's cycling pathways to underpin its strategic cycle designation by Sustrans and constructing and installing the essential infrastructure required to facilitate a new water taxi service between Salford Quays and the city centre.

If approved by the mayor of Salford, a planning application will be submitted in August with construction contracts let in September and work commencing in November.

It is anticipated that the water taxi service will be operational by Easter 2014.

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