Although matters are progressing to redevelop the southern half of Douglas promenade, it’s likely to be some time before we see any actual construction work.
However, in the meantime, a temporary surface will be laid, costing £50,000, ahead of the start of the horsetram season in April.
A similar measure was taken before Christmas in relation to the northern end of the road, running from Broadway to Summer Hill, with a new temporary road surface laid pending full reconstruction.
Infrastructure Minister Ray Harmer said: ‘The message from the public and from Tynwald Members is to get on with the job and that’s exactly what we are doing. I made it clear that the Department would not be investing any further resources in this scheme without a steer from Tynwald. We now have that mandate and are working on the next steps in the process.’
He added: ‘This is one of the Isle of Man’s biggest capital projects for many years and involves a huge amount of research, planning and design. While some of the work that has taken place over recent years will assist the Department, we need to draw up a very different scheme to anything that has been prepared before.’
Plans approved by Tynwald include a full reconstruction of the road and drainage system, as well as renewing the double horsetram tracks between Summerhill and Broadway.
In January, a further vote in Tynwald secured approval to renew just a single track linking the horsetram service with the Sea Terminal.
A financial motion will be put to Tynwald in due course to secure finance for the full redevelopment scheme and this will allow design work to take place ahead of work starting.
Mr Harmer said it would be necessary to look again at the track alignment, kerb positions, crossings, junctions and parking arrangements.
‘Because of the many constraints, it will obviously take some time before we are in a position to get a spade in the ground,’ he said.
Further information about traffic management plans and parking restrictions will be available later this month.
The department is also exploring options for the storage, stabling and welfare facilities required to operate the horse tramway and will make an announcement about its preferred approach in the near future.