Tests of the asphalt on the newly-reconstructed Peel Road had been satisfactory until very recently, MHKs have been told.
In a written reply to a House of Keys question from Bill Henderson MHK, new Infrastructure Minister Laurence Skelly MHK said it was only very recently when results indicated quality control weaknesses in some areas of the asphalt construction.
‘This affects about 5 per cent of the carriageway area,’ he said.
The Manx Independent understands that initial core samples taken all failed in terms of combined thickness of the bitumen and/or density.
A number of subsequent core samples also revealed problems with the thickness of the asphalt layers.
Former Infrastructure Minister David Cretney MHK said he, too, found out about the problems only last week. He said he would never knowingly mislead parliament about the progress of the Peel Road scheme and still believed he had not done so.
Mr Cretney told the Manx Independent that government cut-backs might have been to blame for a lack of oversight of weekend working.
He said: ‘It might be an issue of weekend working and because of government restructuring we didn’t supervise at weekends.’
In his written reply, Mr Skelly said he was pleased that the road scheme was ‘well ahead of programme’ and should be complete by mid-April if weather conditions remain good – and with the main contractor hoping to finish on site on March 21, 11 weeks ahead of schedule.
He said the need to maintain access to businesses at all times and other traffic management restrictions had made it particularly challenging for the contractor and limited the type of equipment that could be used.
Mr Skelly added: ‘A solution has been agreed with our sub-contractor; the company has started the corrective work.
‘The rectification work includes removing substandard asphalt and relaying it to the appropriate requirements.
‘This additional work will take around one week to complete and at no additional cost to the department, as is normal for construction projects.
‘The rectification work is not expected to delay the sub-contractor’s early completion date of the March 21.’