Contracts need to be more tightly negotiated in future to minimise disruption caused by major road works.
That was the message from Infrastructure Minister David Cretney MHK as he gave an update in Tynwald on the Peel Road and Douglas promenades reconstruction schemes.
Dealing with Peel Road first, he said the works are generally going well and the project is currently on track for completion ‘considerably in advance’ of its scheduled September 2014 completion date. Last month, he told a Tynwald scrutiny committee that weeks could be taken off the scheme if the private contractors worked at weekend.
In Tynwald this week, he thanked the contractor for heeding his words: ‘The contractor has applied additional weekend resources and I thank him for that as he was not required to do so in the contract but has done so in response to my comments.’
He added: ‘I accept that this work has taken some time and that it is disruptive. It has also become clear to me that the department needs to ensure in future that a more tightly negotiated contract is in place to further minimise such disruption and maximise the time spent on site.
‘I must make it clear, however, that Peel Road was in a very poor condition and as one of the most important stretches of road in the island, there was little choice but to undertake a full reconstruction.’
Kate Beecroft (Lib Van, Douglas South) asked: ‘What was the problem in this case? Never has so many people been messed around for so long by so few!’
The minister said the contract had been different from any previously issued as the majority of work had been done by the private sector. ‘There’s lessons to be learned from that,’ he admitted.
David Quirk (Onchan) asked if the road works would be ‘closed down for Christmas’, Mr Cretney replied that he would expect that those involved in the construction sector would have time off at Christmas.
Replying to a question from Howard Quayle (Middle) about the safety of cyclists using Peel Road, Mr Cretney said that this was the first scheme in the island to incorporate such provision.
Turning to the Douglas Promenade phase one works, the minister said the project was currently about one week behind schedule but he expected the time to be made up over the next few months so that the overall scheme will be completed by May 23 next year. He said in the New Year work will focus on the section outside Bordello and La Piazza.