Roadworks won’t delay firefighters

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EMERGENCY response times will not be affected by 80 weeks of proposed roadworks on one of the busiest routes in and out of Douglas, fire chiefs insist.

Douglas station commander Mark Christian spoke out to reassure the public after details of a £4.3 million scheme to reconstruct Peel Road were unveiled.

Motorists and businesses face a year and a half of disruption if, as planned, one of the biggest roadworks schemes seen in recent years gets under way in the spring.

Tynwald funding approval will be sought for a £4.3m scheme to reconstruct a two thirds of a mile stretch of the cracked and subsiding Peel Road, all the way from Quarter Bridge roundabout to the Brown Bobby junction with Circular Road.

If approval is given, the main arterial route will be made one-way only – for traffic heading into Douglas - from Quarter Bridge to Pulrose Road for the duration of the works.

At the same time, the section from Pulrose Road to the Brown Bobby will be reduced to two lanes, one in each direction.

Access will be maintained for businesses on Peel Road while the scheme is carried out.

Station commander Mr Christian insisted fire engines would still be able to turn left and right out of their Peel Road base - so there would be no delays in responding to emergency call-outs.

He explained that although the road would be one-way to Douglas-bound traffic only, fire appliances would be able to turn left onto the lane otherwise reserved for access for contractors’s plant and other works vehicles.

‘For the last six to nine months we have been heavily involved with the Department of Infrastructure and their engineers over our concerns that the scheme does not delay our operational turn-out and get staff in,’ he said.

‘The DoI have been fantastic. There will no delays at all - there will be no impact on service delivery whatsoever. We are able to turn right out of the station but we will also be able to turn left using the works lane.’

He said a right turn only for emergency vehicles would have caused ‘unacceptable’ delays to response times to incidents in north Douglas and Farmhill.

Mr Christian said the only issue now would be the narrow lanes on the stretch between Pulrose Road and the Brown Bobby, although this was unlikely to be a big problem.

Director of highways Richard Pearson said Peel Road, which has had no major repairs for more than 25 years, has ‘demonstrably the worst ride quality of any strategic route in the island’. The road surface is severely cracked, the concrete slab sub-base has shifted and there is significant subsidence, he explained.

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