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Brandish Works Three Weeks Ahead Of Schedule 3 November 2006

The new look Brandish Corner is nearing completion ahead of schedule, thanks to fair weather and a quieter than expected traffic flow over the Mountain Road during the works programme.

Work started on this major improvement scheme on September 18th and the time that has been saved means it is now on course to finish three weeks ahead of schedule.

Project Engineer Kevin Quine explains:

‘We will be closing this section of the Mountain Road over the weekend of November 4th and 5th to apply the top coat of bitmac.'
‘We should have most of the landscaping completed prior to the top coat and by the following weekend work on the highway itself should be finished. The only work outstanding will be the hedges, which is predominantly off-road work, and that will continue for some time.'
'The shape of the new bend has been formed and temporary traffic lights continue to control traffic. The new bend is being tied in with the existing road at each end, which Mr Quine explains has happened quicker than anticipated.'

He says:

‘We were originally planning to tie in one end of the bend at a time. However, when we started at the Hillberry side, we realised the volume of traffic – an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening aside – was lower than expected during the day, which enabled us to stretch the traffic lights further and combine the two phases into one.'

One issue of interest to TT and Manx Grand Prix fans is how the new bend will affect times around the Mountain Circuit.

Mr Quine explains:

‘The new bend at Brandish will shorten the TT course by 20 metres, which works out as 0.033% of the circuit. Over an 18-minute lap, that equates to approximately .36 of a second.'

Development Control and Schemes Engineer Jim Davidson says the Brandish scheme was necessary to help improve safety:

‘Brandish Corner is situated on one of the Island’s busiest primary routes to and from Ramsey and the north, carrying in excess of 5,500 vehicles per day'

He explains:

‘Statistics and data collected over the past 3 years have confirmed that it has consistently recorded the highest accident record in the Island. These have included 1 fatality, 4 serious accidents, 9 slight accidents and 15 damage only accidents.'
‘The Department analysed the Police accident reports to establish if there were any particular reasons for the accidents and found that the vast majority were due to excessive and inappropriate speed, where drivers had misjudged the radius of the bend.'
‘A topographical survey revealed that the width of the road and the geometry of the bend fell well below the recommended standards. The radius was only 70 metres, which is well below the absolute minimum radius of 255 metres – so in effect the bend felt like it tightened up, and this caused some vehicles to drift across the road into oncoming vehicles.'
‘Based on this evidence, the Department determined that a major improvement scheme was required to meet design standards, and more importantly to reduce the number of accidents. The Department is confident that the highway improvements will result in a significant reduction in the number and severity of accidents at the location.’

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