The Isle of Man Government, working in partnership with its main construction contractor Auldyn Construction Ltd, has developed a new Promenade programme to allow the highway works along the Douglas Promenade to be delivered more quickly.
The ambitious programme seeks to take advantage of the low traffic volumes due to COVID-19 restrictions and the likelihood of there being limited holiday visitors during the summer of 2020. The aim is to make sure that the works are completed before the 2021 visitor season so that businesses along the Promenades can have the best possible chance to recover from the challenges created by COVID-19.
The new programme will mean that the Promenade highway will be complete by the end of March 2021 so that all construction works are removed from the Prom before the season starts. Over the following winter the tram track will be completed.
Two key decisions have been taken to achieve this new programme. Firstly, some of the constraints imposed on the scheme are being relaxed. Secondly, some elements of the scope of the work are being delivered in a new way or delayed until the following winter.
The changed constraints mean that a one-way system from Victoria Street through to Summerhill will be in place from Monday 15 June 2020 until the end of the school summer holidays. There will be associated closures at various times on side roads such as Church Road Marina, Broadway and Summer Hill. Broadway and Church Road Marina will be closed at the same time for six weeks. To help traffic moving southbound there will be adjustments to key junctions in Onchan and Douglas. The new traffic management details are outlined on www.myprom.im and on www.gov.im
The site’s operating hours will now be from 07.30am-6.30pm on weekdays and from 07.30am to 3.30pm on Saturdays. There may be some work on some Sundays. Some of the noisier activities will not start until 8am.
There will be limited parking along the highway on the Promenade during the summer but this will be fully reinstated as soon as possible. The Promenade walkway will not be open for parking as it will be used for emergency vehicles from 15 June.
The scope of the project has been reduced by two temporary changes intended to make sure that it is ready by 31 March 2021.
The first major change will be that the horse tram track line from Broadway through to the Bottleneck will not be laid until the winter of 2021-22. The route of the tramway will be temporarily replaced with landscaping.
The second change is that the roundabouts at the bottom of Broadway and Church Road will for now be finished in an enhanced tarmac construction. This will save a number of months on the programme. The high quality pedestrian crossings close to the roundabouts will still be finished in block paving as part of the main works but the two roundabouts will be updated with paviours as part of the later works.
Infrastructure Minister Tim Baker MHK said:
‘This is the Government’s most significant refurbishment scheme and we are determined to deliver a new gateway to the Isle of Man. COVID-19 has changed this scheme, like everything else, so bringing in additional resource and deferring parts of the scheme until after the tourist season for 2021 is the right decision for the Isle of Man. I am certain that I want the works to be off the Prom by the end of March but equally certain that I want the tramway to be completed to the Sea Terminal before the 2022 season in line with the express will of Tynwald.
‘This approach gives the businesses on the Promenade and the Island as a whole the opportunity to regroup and bounce back ready for the 2021 season. This decision demonstrates the commitment of this Government to support our businesses and our economy.
‘We will continue to liaise with all residents and businesses along the length of Douglas Promenade to address any concerns or offer assistance.’