Large sections of the newly-reconstructed Peel Road will have to be relaid – after a series of test holes discovered problems with the tarmacadam layer.
The revelations come as a baptism of fire for new Infrastructure Minister Laurence Skelly who was briefed by operations director Jeff Robinson about the situation yesterday (Wednesday) on his very first day at his office.
Mr Skelly said: ‘I’ve just had a briefing and the bottom line is that we are aware there is a problem with the Peel Road roadworks.
‘Remedial work will involve removing and relaying some Tarmac. We estimate it will be less than 10 per cent of the entire works. We are treating this as an urgent matter.
‘Time-wise it should take the best part of a week. We want it done as quickly as possible.’
Mr Skelly said this should not delay the completion of the £4.3 million project, which is still due to be finished by the end of April.
He said the problem was discovered last week after a number of core samples were taken. It was then decided to test the entire section.
Costs of the remedial works will be borne by the private contractor.
Mr Skelly said: ‘We recognise how important this road is and we want the highest standards. We ran a number of test holes in three different sections and then we decided to test the entire section.’
He couldn’t confirm whether it was the depth or the quality of the tarmacadam layer that was the problem, saying only: ‘It didn’t meet the standard we are working towards.’
He said that remedial work would not involve replacing foundations of the carriageway. ‘The full cost is borne by the private contractor. They are the ones responsible and they have agreed to take care of the remedial work,’ he added.
Mr Skelly, who was only appointed as David Cretney’s replacement as Infrastructure Minister on Monday, said Wednesday was his first day in his Minister’s office.
‘It’s a baptism of fire for me - but I’m sure there will be plenty more,’ he said.
The Peel Road reconstruction project is one of the biggest roadworks schemes seen in recent years. It began on March 11 last year and was initially programmed to last 80 weeks but that schedule was subsequently reduced to 60 weeks.
In January, Isle of Man Newspapers reported how a section of the surfacing between Hills Meadow East entrance and Hamilton House had to be ‘planed off’ as the material had apparently deteriorated due to the excessive water flowing from the Belmont Hill path during heavy rain.
This section was described as binder layer that was being removed and replaced as a precaution before the final surface material was laid the following month. Further areas of planing were needed to remove temporary surfaces laid to provide access ramps to properties and allow two way traffic flow as the works continued.
At that time the highways division said core samples had been taken ‘as is common practice for testing materials during highway construction’ but ‘to date we have had no failures’.
It is understood that a question about problems on Peel Road has been tabled for next week’s House of Keys sitting.