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From time to time, societies work together on great endeavours: to defeat Nazism, to put a man on the moon, or to redevelop Douglas Promenade. On the occasion of the D-Day landings as part of Operation Overlord, General Dwight Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe, wrote to the soldiers, “Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.”

How does the time taken for the redevelopment of Douglas Promenade compare with other great and noble undertakings of the modern era?

Wire fencing outside the Gaiety
Wire fencing outside the Gaiety Credit: Michael Josem

Douglas Promenade: 2243 days and counting

Douglas Promenade workers
Workers on Douglas Promenade, 12 May 2021 Credit: Michael Josem

The Douglas Promenade redevelopment scheme started on Tuesday, 5 May 2015, 2243 days ago, when the Isle of Man Department of Infrastructure “announced exciting plans for the redevelopment of Douglas Promenade.” Several months later in 2015, “revised multi-million pound plans” were put on display, and two years later, the “Douglas promenade makeover plan [was] backed by Tynwald“.

In April 2018, the BBC reported the “makeover of Douglas promenade will be completed “on time and within budget”, the Isle of Man’s government has pledged.”

According to the taxpayer-funded MyProm.im website operated by the Department for Infrastructure, “The Department started enabling work in September 2018. The work will be done in a number of managed phases in order to minimise disruption to the public and reduce the need for lengthy and complicated traffic management. The whole scheme should be complete within 2 years, including the installation of the new tram lines.”

Time Elapsed: 2243 days and counting.

Near the junction with Victoria Street
Near the junction with Victoria Street Credit: Michael Josem

Operation Overlord: 544 Days

Landing ships putting cargo ashore on Omaha Beach, at low tide during the first days of Operation Overlord, June 1944
Landing ships putting cargo ashore on Omaha Beach, at low tide during the first days of Operation Overlord, June 1944 Credit: Unknown (public domain)

Operation Overlord was the codename for the Battle of Normandy, the Allied operation that launched the successful invasion of German-occupied Western Europe during World War II.

Different sources provide different dates for the start of planning for Operation Overlord. Some say March 1943, others say July 1943. D-Day itself was on 6 June 1944, with Operation Overlord widely accepted to have ended with the liberation of Paris on 26 August, 1944 (other possible dates for the end of Operation Overlord were 19 August and 21 August).

Taking the earliest start date of 1 March 1943, and the latest end date of 26 August 1944, Operation Overlord took no more than 544 days.

Brexit: 1,441 Days

On 20 February 2016, UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced that the Brexit referendum would take place that year on 23 June 2016. The ‘Leave’ vote won, and negotiations (and a general election) took place over the next few years.

At 11pm on 31 January 2020, the UK left the EU and entered a transition period.

Time elapsed for Brexit: 1,441 days.

World War 2: 2,193 days

On September 1, 1939, German forces under the control of Adolf Hitler bombard Poland on land and from the air. World War II had begun.”

On September 2, 1945, Japan surrendered, ending World War II.

Time elapsed for World War 2: 2,193 days.

President Kennedy
In September 1962, Kennedy promoted his pledge the previous year to send a man to the moon Credit: NASA

Man on the Moon: 2,978 days

On May 25, 1961, [President John Kennedy] announced the goal of landing a man on the Moon before a joint session of Congress. At that point, the total time spent in space by an American was barely 15 minutes.”

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin walked on the Moon.

Time elapsed for putting a man on the moon: 2,978 days.

Photograph taken during the initial construction phase of the Channel Tunnel at Shakespeare Cliff, Dover in 1988. Two engineers carrying out inspection of spoil conveyor in Adit A1.
Photograph taken during the initial construction phase of the Channel Tunnel at Shakespeare Cliff, Dover in 1988. Two engineers carrying out inspection of spoil conveyor in Adit A1. Credit: Jeff Lewis

Channel Tunnel: 3,028 days

At Lille on 20 January 1986,” Francois Mitterrand and Margaret Thatcher announced the decision to build a tunnel under the English Channel. “The tunnel was officially opened on May 6, 1994.” This was 3,028 days after the official decision to build the tunnel.

Time elapsed to build the Channel Tunnel: 3,028 days.

Sorry for any delay
Sorry for any delay Credit: Michael Josem