Douglas sea wall would cost £50m to replace

Douglas promenade sea wall is pummelled during winter storms

Douglas promenade sea wall is pummelled during winter storms

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It would cost £50 million to rebuild Douglas’s sea defences.

Concerns were raised in Tynwald last week about spending millions on the promenades improvement scheme without a full assessment of future flood risk associated with climate change and rising sea levels.

But in a written reply to a Tynwald question from Chris Thomas MHK (Douglas West), new Infrastructure Minister Phil Gawne said safety inspections of the sea wall had concluded it is good for at least the next 30 years.

And he said: ‘At the start of the promenade project, a conceptual cost assessment was made of the likely cost to build a new and bigger sea wall on the seaward side of the existing wall. This it was estimated would cost £50,000,000.

‘Given that the condition of the existing sea wall, with ongoing repair and maintenance, has a life well in excess of 30 years, it was decided not to include it into the Douglas Promenade project.’

There are two distinct sea walls extending over the length of Loch and Harris Promenades, joining at the War Memorial.

Both the walls had a safety inspection in February this year immediately after the worst of the winter storms.

It found the old stone sea wall on Harris Promenade between the War Memorial and Broadway is in good condition overall with just minor and superficial defects. The recommendation was to continue routine maintenance.

For the wall extending from the Sea Terminal to the War Memorial, the findings were that the fundamental structural integrity of the main wall is good. Inspectors concluded preventative maintenance was needed to secure some of the facing blocks to ensure longer-term durability of the main structure, while loose block work on some of the steps needs to be secured and made safe.

Condition of the access steps was found to be poor with extensive cracking and loss of concrete facing blocks, step sections and corroded rails. The parapet is stable but in an increasingly poor state of maintenance.

Mr Gawne said his department is in the process of commissioning a specialist engineering firm to review the sea defences at all major port towns.

He said many strategic structures have suffered from a period of under investment in basic maintenance and repair. ‘All of the island’s promenades, piers and structures are showing varying signs of distress’, he said, adding that his department had submitted an ongoing minor capital bid to carry out strategic structural maintenance.

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