By Christopher Tobutt
Recently, Government Ministers and senior National Roads Authority officials showed the Caymanian Times and other media outlets some of the extensive road widening, extending and improving that is happening all over the island and has taken several years, both in planning and execution. The new improvements will cost more than 30 million, Infrastructure Minister Joey Hew said. It is part of a comprehensive transport strategy aimed at helping Cayman develop in a sustainable way as its population continues to grow.
Godfrey Nixon Way extension
One of the new roads that is not too far from completion is a large extension to the Godfrey Nixon Way, all the way through to (the area of Da Fish Shack on North Church Street / South Church Street. The new extension is going to employ what Mr. Hew calls the “Complete Streets Methodology,” which is a new way of planning new roads to better accommodate pedestrians, cyclists and those using busses, helping them feel safer and encouraging them to be less dependent on cars. “plans are underway, and we are looking at opportunities to redesign the town and pedestrianize certain areas using parking garages, hop on and hop off services that allow people to park and move around the town freely. These are all ideas we are looking at in a very comprehensive approach to the traffic issue. The next step has to be a comprehensive study on public transport and the hop on hop off service is just one of those projects that we are doing ….and then we hope to do more ...our public transport and its not just about getting bigger busses or anything I want us to think outside of the box when it comes to public transport – how do we move people safely and comfortably, and how do we plan for the future? I agree 100 percent we cannot continue to build ourselves out of traffic congestion. We have to approach this in a holistic manner, and that’s what we’re doing,” Mr. Hew said.
The new Godfrey Nixon Way extension will also provide an alternate route for tour busses, as well as corridor for shipping containers at the Port area to be transported up to the holding area just off the North Sound Road.
Big new roundabout at the end of Linford Pierson Way
On the other side of town, the Linford Pierson Way was recently upgraded from a single lane each way to a two lanes, greatly speeding the traffic and making driving times from Savannah and Bodden Town noticeably faster. But the end of the road is still single-lane each way, and so the whole of the last section of road and the small roundabout at the end represents a bottleneck.
for the last phase of the Linford Pierson Highway to get the three lanes all the way down to what is now known as the Torguga roundabout and Bobby Thompson way…so the roundabout that is left we will expand to six lanes, so there will be three lanes heading East and three lanes coming into town. That small roundabout will become this massive roundabout.
New Airport Connector Road
When it is complete, the new Airport Connector Road will take traffic from the area of the Airport Long-Term Carpark all the way through, from the Environmental Health Building to the big roundabout which is also the turnoff for the International School on the Esterly Tibbetts Highway, enabling the traffic to move swiftly all the way from the Airport up into West Bay, The first phase of the connector road goes round behind the dump, and will finish at Sparky Drive, with the next phase taking the road right up to the Department of Environment building at Smith Barcadere, and the final phase all the way through to the Airport parking lot.
It is hoped that the new road will alleviate traffic considerably at the Butterfield Roundabout, especially at peak traffic times, and take most of the workers from Industrial Park and CUC.