Horse tram tracks to move as part of prom redevelopment

Phase 1 of the redevelopment

Phase 1 of the redevelopment

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Tynwald will be asked to spend £1.36million on the next phase of the redevelopment of Douglas Promenade in this month’s Tynwald.

Members were today given a preview of the plan, which includes moving the horse tram tracks.

The area affected will be Loch Promenade from the Bottleneck car park to Regent Street.

The scheme is designed to build on the initial phase of work, from Peveril Square and the Victoria Street/promenade junction, which was undertaken at the beginning of the year and included moving the Jubilee Clock at the bottom of Victoria Street.

Those changes, completed ahead of this year’s TT Festival, feature natural stone paving, new street furniture and the introduction of trees.

Subject to approval being granted at the July sitting of Tynwald, Phase 2 will involve the reconstruction of the highway and footways, and improvements to highway drainage.

The horse tram tracks will be removed from the centre of the road from Peveril Square to Regent Street.

A dedicated corridor will be set aside on the seaward side of the carriageway in readiness for the construction of the new horse tram tracks. An area will also be allocated on the footway adjacent to the Bottleneck car park for the provision of a tram terminus and shelter.

If Tynwald Members give Phase 2 the go-ahead, it is intended that work will start in September, with a scheduled completion date in March 2015.

A traffic management plan has been produced and the aim is to keep traffic flowing without the need for traffic signals or road closures – except for a limited period.

Parking will be permitted on the walkway next to the Marine Gardens to compensate for the loss of on-street parking on the promenade during the construction period. This will operate on a similar basis to the Christmas parking, but will be subject to weather conditions.

Infrastructure Minister Laurence Skelly MHK said: ‘The department is committed to delivering a high quality infrastructure that allows the Isle of Man to attract new investment and secure future economic growth. The promenade in Douglas is the gateway to the island and provides a first impression for visitors arriving at the Sea Terminal.’

He added: ‘As well as improving the visual appeal of the area, the scheme will enhance the ride quality of the road, improve drainage and set in motion plans to relocate the horse tram tracks to a safer location on the seaward side of the promenade. We hope this work will breathe new life into the area, support existing businesses and encourage more private sector investment.’

The total capital cost for Phase 2 is £1,362,000.

The Department of Infrastructure’s highway services division will retain responsibility for the production and laying of asphalt concrete, lining works and the supply of natural stone paving materials and kerbs. About half of the labour and plant element of the work will be sub-contracted to the private sector.

If Phase 2 is approved, plans will be progressed for Phase 3, which will focus on the refurbishment of the remainder of Douglas promenade from Regent Street to Strathallan.

More on this story in Thursday’s Manx Independent.

One of our reporters will be asking those in charge how we can afford such a scheme at a time when many services are being cut.

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