A major project to replace Pulrose Bridge, reduce the risk of flooding, improve the highway and protect vital infrastructure connections is scheduled to begin in March 2021.
The £3.4m capital scheme will lead to the closure of the bridge over the River Douglas for around 12 months in total.
Electricity, water and telecoms connections must all be diverted and reconnected while maintaining supplies in a complex and collaborative planning schedule.
Gas diversions will take place before the main construction work begins.
The current bridge was built in 1931 and, due to ongoing maintenance issues, it is neither practical nor economically justifiable to extend its life further.
As witnessed in 2015, the River Douglas is susceptible to flooding and in full spate the flow capacity under the bridge is exceeded.
Its current construction causes a bottleneck in the Douglas River catchment, leading to flooding in upstream areas which include the strategically important Power Station in Pulrose and the National Sports Centre.
The new reinforced concrete and steel beam structure will significantly reduce this risk by increasing the flow capacity of the river under the bridge.
While the existing bridge sits on two piers almost in the centre of the river, its replacement will feature load-bearing structures much closer to the banks and will also be raised by 700mm. The wider channel will improve flow and reduce the possibility of debris causing blockages.
The bridge’s highway will feature cycle lanes on both sides, linking Peel Road with the Heritage Trail and Nunnery cycle routes and supporting the Isle of Man Government’s Active Travel Strategy.
Built in accordance with modern bridge standards, it will have a design life of 120 years.
The Department of the Environment, Food and Agriculture has been fully consulted throughout the project development stage to address environmental issues relating to tree removal, river working and fisheries.
Infrastructure Minister Tim Baker MHK said:
‘The current bridge has served Douglas well since 1931 and is ready to be replaced by one which will meet the needs of our 21st century community.
‘The Department will be working in partnership with Manx Utilities and private contractors on an extremely complex programme to future-proof power and telecommunications connections and increase our resilience to the effects of climate change.
‘Traffic diversions will be required but the programme has been designed to ensure any disruption will be kept to a minimum at the same time as delivering the scheme safely.’
Pedestrian access between Peel Road and Pulrose will be maintained throughout, while diversions and temporary routes for motorists will be fully signposted.
Businesses and property owners in the surrounding area have been informed of the plans following engagement by the Department of Infrastructure.
A temporary entrance to Riverside Trading Estate will be created through Hills Meadow to enable customers requiring vehicle access to easily reach businesses while work takes place. Pedestrian access to the estate will be unaffected and an area of The Bowl car park will include reserved parking for Riverside customers.
Vehicle access to Middle River Industrial Estate and Douglas Golf Club will be maintained via Groves Road and Pulrose Road while the closure is in place.
For further information on the project, call Highways Liaison Officer Andy Kneen on 850060 or email email@example.com