Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Douglas promenade delays have 'badly damaged' businesses, says MHK

A horse tram on Douglas promenade in the Isle of Man
Image caption The tracks for the Isle of Man's horse tram are being relayed during the refurbishment

Businesses on Douglas promenade have been "damaged" by over-running work to modernise the Manx capital's seafront, a Member of the House of Keys has said.

Bill Shimmins questioned why the government had decided to keep the horse-drawn trams running during the two-year renovation project.

Access to many businesses along the seafront has been severely disrupted.

Infrastructure Minister Ray Harmer said the government would work with firms to "mitigate the disruption".

Work to replace the tram tracks is currently behind schedule.

Mr Harmer said that while finishing the "rail corridor" was a priority, the delays were not down the fact that services were still running.

The refurbishment of promenade in Douglas began in September 2018 at an estimated cost of £25m.

'Hampered'

During the final Tynwald session ahead of the summer break, Mr Harmer admitted the project was "nine to 10 weeks" behind schedule.

However, he said he hoped they would be able to "get those nine weeks back" by hiring more workers.

In May, the horse trams started a month later and over a shorter distanced than previously planned.

Cracks in the concrete underneath the tracks, as well as work to combat the "louder than expected" noise from trams, have been blamed for the delays.

The project has also been hampered by a lack of plans for some of the services underneath the road surface, such as gas and electricity.

Mr Harmer said that, once completed, the new-look promenade would be an "incredible asset" to the island.

Image copyright IoM government
Image caption The refurbishment will include a "cultural area"

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