Work has begun to re-lay sections of the £4.3 million Peel Road reconstruction scheme after problems with the bitumen layer were discovered.
But questions remain about the full extent of the problem and the level of supervision that was provided by the Department of Infrastructure’s operations division.
In the House of Keys today, new Infrastructure Minister Laurence Skelly will give a written reply to a question tabled by Douglas North MHK Bill Henderson about whether the contracted works on Peel Road, Douglas, are up to the required standards of the contract and still on time.
As revealed by the Manx Independent last week, Mr Skelly has confirmed that sections of the road surface will have to be re-laid after a series of test holes revealed problems with the tarmacadam layer.
The Minister, who was given a briefing on the situation on his first day at his office, says the private contractor will pick up the full tab for the remedial work.
He says three sections need to be re-laid, totalling 5 to 10 per cent of the total, and this should take a week to complete – so the scheme will still be finished on time and within budget.
The Examiner understands all six core samples of the bitumen initially taken on the Douglas-bound carriageway, between the Brown Bobby and the Vehicle Sourcing Centre, failed – either due to the thickness of the layer or its compaction.
Further core samples were subsequently ordered for both inward and outward-bound carriageways.
Paul Corteen of contractor Island Drainage and Groundworks said a total of 850 square metres out of a total of 17,000 square metres would have to be re-laid.
‘It most definitely isn’t the whole of the carriageway,’ he insisted.
The first section to be planed off ready for re-laying is outside Douglas fire station.
Mr Corteen said there were four or five different sections, on both sides of the road and one area in the middle of the carriageway, that would need re-laying.
He said that the problems had stemmed from the need to keep the road open throughout the contract with reduced lanes requiring the use of smaller paving machinery and rollers that didn’t provide the same level of compaction as larger ones.
‘It’s a collective disappointment,’ he admitted.
‘It was a relatively difficult job compounded by the need to split it over various lanes to provide traffic management.’
Operations director for the Department of Infrastructure Jeff Robinson said: ‘We took core samples in the areas that were suspect and they confirmed our suspicions.’
He said the problems lay with the compaction and in some areas there was an issue with the ratio of thickness of the different layers.
It is understood that concerns about the project were raised before Christmas about the use of an excavator.
Mr Robinson confirmed that an excavator had been used to carry asphalt to a section of lay-by by the Brown Bobby – but denied it had been employed to lay or compact the material.