The internal works at the Isle of Man Ferry Terminal building are nearing completion.

The government has released the first pictures of the interior of the building, showing the departure lounge looking out over the River Mersey and Canal.

It says that work is currently being done to install carpet and signage. Though internal works are close to finished, Infrastructure Minister Chris Thomas said as recently as the end of January that the summer completion date for the terminal was under threat.

He told the House of Keys at the time that marine works had continued to ‘present challenges’ for the terminal.

This was, according to the minister, due to poor weather conditions during the winter.

The lack of progress on the marine work meant that the completion date the Department of Infrastructure had given could be in jeopardy.

Arbory, Castletown and Malew MHK Jason Moorhouse had labelled the date of ‘summer’ as a ‘significant time frame’, however Mr Thomas was unable to provide a more accurate prediction.

Mr Moorhouse explained that he was concerned about the level of ‘uncertainty’ surrounding the building of the terminal.

The minister said he couldn’t return to members with updates every week but there have been regular updates in the press and there is information provided in the Sea Terminal building for the to view.

Later in the sitting, Garff MHK Daphne Caine pointed out that there had initially been a date of June 2023, or TT 2023, promised by the department.

The minister disagreed, saying: ‘There were no promises made about TT 2023.’

Mrs Caine had been quoting a progress update from May 16, 2022, which said the facility was due to be completed in June 2023.

Construction for the terminal began in November 2019 with enabling works, before main activity began in January 2020.

Following this, the department had to navigate a number of challenges presented during the Covid-19 pandemic. It resulted in the programme being extended and additional project costs on the construction contract.

A full breakdown was released by the DoI last year and is available on the Tynwald website.

Meanwhile, the budget for the Isle of Man Ferry Terminal at that time was ‘amber’, meaning it was also ‘at risk’.

Initially projected to cost the taxpayer about £25m back in 2016, the project is now more than £70.6 million.

The Public Accounts Committee is currently investigating the decisions made about the budget of this facility.

It was supposed to report back in January this year but the document is still yet to be published.

The government went back to Tynwald for approval of a £32.6million additional spend in December 2021.

During that debate, the handling of the project by the DoI was heavily criticised by the administration at the time.

Then-infrastructure minister Tim Crookall, who moved the motion, said the overspend on the project was nothing short of a disaster, and that stinging criticism of the department’s handling of it by members was justified.

But he warned that to walk away having already spent £40m would have been a mistake.

He also conceded that if Tynwald had known what the overall spend would have amounted to, it wouldn’t have agreed to start the project.

Mr Crookall admitted that £70m was ‘far too big’.

Now there is no indication as to whether the final costs will end up lower or higher than estimated in the projected budget, as Mr Thomas said in a House of Keys debate.

While this has been going on, the department has been closely liaising with the Isle of Man Steam Packet about this as the company has been making plans around the 2023/24 season.