The Department of Infrastructure is progressing detailed designs for the redevelopment of Douglas Promenade, with the intention of submitting a planning application in October.
Subject to approval being granted, work will start in September 2018 to reconstruct the area widely regarded as the ‘gateway to the Isle of Man’.
The Department’s proposals for the Promenade will improve traffic flow, junction layouts, footpaths and utilities to create a national asset the Island can be proud of.
The scheme, which gained overwhelming support from Tynwald Members at the July sitting, also includes a cultural area around the Villa Marina and Gaiety Theatre in line with the town centre regeneration and Douglas Masterplan.
Following Tynwald approval for the proposals, the Department recently hosted a presentation for representatives of the business and hospitality sectors, third sector organisations and others directly impacted by the redevelopment. Information is also currently on public display in the Sea Terminal building.
The scheme includes the full-depth excavation and reconstruction of the failing highway and drainage, the laying of more than 7,500 metres of rail track and the installation of new water and gas mains and ducting. Based on the Department’s experience and expertise in delivering complex civil engineering projects of this magnitude, a construction period of up to three years is considered a realistic timescale to complete the work.
The duration of the project will be further assessed once a contractor has been appointed.
Infrastructure Minister Ray Harmer MHK said:
‘The ability to deliver the scheme as quickly as possible, while managing the level of disruption to the public and businesses, will be a critical factor when it comes to awarding this contract. Our current estimate of three years is realistic taking into account the huge scale of the development, the availability of civil engineering staff and the desire to maintain two-way traffic and access to properties. We will work with the appointed contractor to draw up a detailed timetable and to explore ways to achieve time and cost savings wherever practicable.’
David Anderson MLC, DOI Member with responsibility for Highway Services, added:
‘In theory the work could be completed in a shorter timeframe, but this would require the full closure of the road. This would limit vehicular access to the 145 properties located on the Promenade, including shops and businesses, restrict access for emergency services and prevent buses and horse trams from operating. Diverting the six million vehicle movements the Promenade handles each year would also place considerable strain on the surrounding roads. There are a lot of important factors to consider and we will aim to strike the right balance as work progresses.’