A new cycle lane and pedestrian refuges in the centre, are the major changes to Peel Road, which is now nearing the end of its major upgrade.
Construction manager for the DOI Gary Saunders said the refuges should help pedestrians to cross and also improve safety on the road, which is expected to be completed around 10 weeks ahead of schedule at the end of this month.
‘There are still bits to finish off but once it’s all complete I think drivers will be happy,’ he said.
Parts of the new cycle lane, where it meets junctions are to be coloured green so it stands out for drivers and cyclists. In addition, line and chevron painting still has to be completed, marking lanes out more clearly for drivers. New traffic lights will also be installed at the Brown Bobby and Pulrose Bridge junctions, and by MacDonalds.
The new cycle lane runs at the side of the road from the Brown Bobby to Quarterbridge and moves on to the pavement between the firestation and Quarterbridge.
A new central refuge by the west entrance to Hills Meadow industrial estate means traffic can no longer turn right into or out of the estate.
Mr Saunders said traffic turning right into Hills Meadow had been involved in a number of accidents over the years and right turning traffic emerging from the estate often took time to find a gap while queues built up behind.
Instead, right turners can now enter and exit the east entrance nearer to the Brown Bobby, which has been widened allowing left turners leaving the estate to pass at the side of cars waiting to turn right. The east entrance is also further away from the busy Pulrose Bridge junction.
Cars leaving Douglas and turning at Pulrose Bridge will have to cross the cycle lane to filter left but Mr Saunders said the different coloured tarmac should alert drivers to look out for cyclists.
‘It’s a standard design used in the UK,’ he said.
‘If cyclists are turning left they will use the footpath and for those going straight on towards Quarterbridge there is a reservoir (a box marked in green at the front of the queue) by the traffic lights.
‘Once people can see the green coloured surfaces they will understand how it all works,’ he said.
‘There’s still more painting to be done and some hatching for the third lane.’
As well as the new refuge by Hills Meadow, there are additional ones by the Brown Bobby and McDonald’s which, he said are mainly for pedestrian safety: ‘We have put them in near pedestrian areas like bus stops,’ he said.
Traffic heading west, straight along Peel Road will find a slight chicane as they pass through Pulrose Bridge traffic lights - similar to that for traffic heading south past the end of Groves Road - created by extra traffic islands.
With the fire station on Peel Road and the hospital nearby at Braddan, fears that emergency vehicles could be baulkedby the extra refuges have been dismissed.
‘If drivers behave as they should and pull well in onto the cycle lane, vehicles should be able to pass and emergency vehicles can also pass the other side of the refuges if need be. It doesn’t cause a problem in the UK,’ he said.
The scheme, which was originally scheduled to take 80 weeks, has benefited from the mild winter, ending early despite some delays from the heavy snow a year ago and the sometimes torrential rain.