Ryde Pier improvements

Investing in Ryde Pier

Status of the works: Walkway shelters are planned to be installed on Tuesday, 11 July, marking the completion of the project.

We’re in the very last stages of some significant improvement works at Ryde Pier, creating a safer, more convenient route for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles to travel to and from our port.

The works focus on the currently unused tramway part of the pier, where we are creating a dedicated walkway that will allow cars and bicycles to travel up and down the pier separately from pedestrians.

How is the pier being improved and when will it be finished?

We’re reinstating the old pier tramway to provide a dedicated footway for anyone using the pier, allowing pedestrians to stay separated from cars and bicycles. Shelters and seats are being built along this new walkway, offering beautiful views out across the Solent.

The tramway – which sits between the roadway and train line – was built in 1864 for horse-drawn trams to take ferry passengers to the Esplanade. Later, steam, electric and diesel-powered trams were used but it was closed in 1969. We look forward to re-opening this important historic structure to the public again.

As part of the improvements, the surface steelwork will be replaced but the cast-iron piles underneath are in good condition and will be kept. We expect the work to be finished in spring 2023.

Constructing the walkway

In providing a new pedestrian walkway, we’re striving to improve the pier while keeping hold of the things that make it unique. Its original wooden structure dates back to 1814 and we want to ensure the pier’s charm is retained after all works are complete.

As part of the construction:

  • The existing Victorian cast iron piles are being retained.
  • The joists being used are made from greenheart timber, one of few timbers with a long lifespan when used in a marine environment. It’s so dense that it doesn’t float.
  • 235 bespoke steel I-beams will be used. They’re about a third lighter than what’s there currently.
  • Over 20,000 screws will be used in the structure, as well as 2,740 deck boards.

Why are the works required?

The improvements to Ryde Pier are part of a bigger, £10 million project by Isle of Wight Council to upgrade Ryde Transport Interchange, which will include improvements to Ryde Esplanade railway station and the bus station, and enhanced cycle-links.

Financed by the Government’s Transforming Cities Fund, the project aims to improve connectivity between Portsmouth and Ryde, ultimately giving commuters and holiday-goers a smoother, more convenient journey.