Highway chiefs have launched a full investigation into why a newly reconstructed main road flooded during heavy overnight rain.
A £4.3m scheme to reconstruct Peel Road, Douglas, was only completed last month after more than a year of disruption to motorists and businesses. The project was designed in part to alleviate flooding.
But on Saturday morning a section of the road between Ballakermeen Drive and Quarter Bridge had to be closed, and buses diverted, after it became submerged during torrential overnight rain.
Waltons was swamped with an inch of floodwater, with stock and carpets damaged.
But with water coming in through the ceiling as well as through the doorway, managing director Robert Byers said: ‘We don’t know what caused this. Our car park was certainly flooded and I think water was coming in through the doorway. We had a leaking roof but that was repaired last year.’
Infrastructure Minister Laurence Skelly confirmed a blockage had been found. He said: ‘I have asked for a full investigation.
‘One of the main purposes of doing this work was to resolve the drainage issue. This was its first test and it didn’t pass muster. That’s obviously a concern - without a shadow of a doubt.’
He insisted this was an ‘unusual deluge’, with half a dozen other roads in Douglas having reported flooding at the same time. ‘I’m led to believe that it was the first time that some of these road have experienced that level of flooding in living memory.’
But Mr Skelly said: ‘Early reports indicate there was a blockage. The lads went out very early in the morning and they discovered a blockage. We also know that the Manx Utilities Authority had not completed their works and they are going to have a look too.
‘We’ve sent a team down to talk to traders. Our aim is to ensure we get this fixed now because we don’t want to have to come back later. Our priority is to find out what caused the problem and how we are going to fix it. We need to make sure we get this right.’
Meanwhile, the Minister admitted there were ‘one or two issues’ with works on the main road into Port Erin which has caused months of disruption for villagers.
The scheme on Castletown Road had already been delayed for eight weeks and now two sections of newly relaid asphalt have been taken up again because of problems with the level of manhole covers, confirmed Mr Skelly.
He said there had also been delays with the construction of the new roundabout at Four Roads. Mr Skelly said pipework had been a lot older than anticipated. ‘We fully appreciate the disruption. But we are very nearly there. The roundabout will be functional in time for TT.’