The Department of Infrastructure is promoting a vision for the future of Douglas Promenade that will deliver significant social, economic and travel benefits and create a national asset the Island can be proud of.
Tynwald Members are being encouraged to support funding of £20.73 million for the scheme to reconstruct the failing highway and to rejuvenate the area regarded as the gateway to the Isle of Man.
The Department is proposing a new design for the southern section of the Promenade to improve traffic flow, junctions and footpaths and to create a cultural area around the Villa Marina and Gaiety in line with the town centre regeneration and Douglas Masterplan. The northern end will be redeveloped on a simple, like-for-like basis.
The scheme reflects the design principles agreed by Tynwald Members in January 2017 and features twin horse tram tracks in the centre of the road from Strathallan to Castle Mona Avenue, switching to a single track on the seaward side of the road terminating at Peveril Square, near the Sea Terminal.
Subject to Tynwald approval at the July sitting, the Department will progress the detailed design work and submit a planning application, with a view to work starting in September 2018. The construction programme is expected to take three years to complete and a traffic management plan will be put in place to minimise disruption by maintaining two-way travel wherever practical.
It is widely accepted that substantial capital investment in Douglas Promenade is required to address the crumbling infrastructure. It is one of the Island’s busiest and most important strategic routes, with approximately six million vehicle journeys each year, but also the worst in terms of its overall condition, according to highway inspection reports.
As well as reconstructing the 80-year-old highway foundations and drainage, the Department’s scheme is intended to act as a catalyst for the future regeneration of the capital. It will enhance the tired appearance of the Promenade to reinforce the Isle of Man’s status as a leading international business centre, a tourist destination and a special place to live and work.
The Department is also working in partnership with Douglas Borough Council and the utility providers regarding the installation of new water and gas mains and improved lighting.
Infrastructure Minister Ray Harmer MHK said:
‘The redevelopment of Douglas Promenade has been on the agenda for many years. Now is the time to grasp the nettle. There is public and political appetite for decisive action and I believe the Department is offering a solution that will benefit the Island for generations to come. This scheme is a priority within the Programme for Government and we stand ready to deliver that commitment.’
‘The recent resurfacing of the Promenade was only ever intended as a short-term fix. The structural integrity of the road is continuing to deteriorate. The Department’s proposal will not only secure the long-term future of a vital route, it will also support economic investment, make the Promenade more accessible and inclusive, and retain and future-proof the tramway. The cultural area in particular will give the Promenade a much-needed lift and reaffirm its importance as the main gateway to our Island.’