A private contractor involved in the Peel Road reconstruction scheme has denied it is to blame for the problems on the £4.3m project.
In a statement issued through its lawyers, Island Drainage and Groundwork said its directors wanted to protect the company’s reputation after critical comments reported in the media.
The reconstruction project was completed in April after more than a year of disruption.
Infrastructure Minister Laurence Skelly has launched an investigation into the problems on the road, including recent flooding and issues with the thickness and compaction of sections of asphalt.
That investigation has yet to be completed. Yet Island Drainage’s lawyer said the press statement had been approved by ‘representatives of the DoI’. Mr Skelly admitted he had not seen the statement but said his department had approved its contents as accurate.
Island Drainage’s statement points out the company complied with all specifications and all works were checked and passed by the Department of Infrastructure.
It said it had relaid sections of tarmac at its own cost when problems were found. And it pointed out the storm water main drainage system running the length of Peel Road, which it believed to be under capacity, was never replaced as part of the project.
However, it confirmed that flooding had in part been caused by ‘construction debris’ in the drainage system, which has now been removed.
Its statement reads: ‘IDG has been concerned to read comments reported in the press which appear to suggest that IDG was responsible, either in whole or part, for problems arising out of the recent road works at Peel Road, Douglas.
‘The directors of IDG are anxious to issue this press release in order to protect the company’s reputation and to ensure that the public are aware of the facts in relation to the work it carried out.
‘After a formal process IDG was awarded a sub-contract to undertake civil engineering works on the Peel Road scheme. Those works were completed within agreed timescales and to a high standard.
‘In addition to the contract IDG was also asked to apply a layer of base coat tarmac over a small area of the scheme (comprising less than 5 per cent). Some problems were found with that work and IDG immediately planed and re-laid the tarmac at no additional cost.
‘At all times during the works IDG followed the instructions and complied with the specifications of its main contractor, the Department of Infrastructure.
‘All works undertaken by IDG were checked and passed by representatives of the DoI. As part of the quality control carried out by the site supervision team, resultant problems or defects were identified and subsequently rectified as the works progressed to the satisfaction of the main contractor. Any issues raised by the department or its representatives were addressed by IDG.
‘With regard to the reported drainage problems, we would point out that there was no improvement works undertaken to the storm water main drainage system running down the length of Peel Road which is believed to be under capacity.
‘Additional gullies and kerb drainage systems were installed to increase the highway drainage capacity into the storm water drainage system. This was done in anticipation of planned Manx Utility Authority improvements being made to the capacity of the overall system on Peel Road in the region of the Cinder Path.
‘That said, the recent flooding adjacent to the fire station was at least in part as a result of construction debris within the drainage system and an exceptional amount of rain. The debris has subsequently been removed.
‘IDG is an established and highly regarded contractor on the island and it exceptionally proud of its reputation for providing quality services. Its directors look forward to continuing to provide those services to its existing and new clients in the future.
‘The DoI is satisfied with the resulting quality and timeliness of the work carried out by IDG. The department and its representatives had a good working relationship with IDG during the course of the construction and continue to do so.
‘The department believes that the delivery team have provided a good quality project greatly improving the appearance and ride quality of Peel Road. The department have confirmed that any areas of concern that were identified were corrected in a professional and timely manner by IDG.’
Launching a full investigation into the flooding that took place during unprecedented overnight rain on May 10, Minister Skelly said: ‘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.’
But Peter Winstanley, chief executive of the Manx Utilities Authority, said: ‘The main drainage system running along the length of Peel Road was not replaced at part of the scheme. It didn’t flood before the roadworks - why should it flood now?’