New traffic-easing road underway

Across Grand Cayman, major roadworks are underway at key pinch-points to upgrade and expand the existing network to alleviate traffic congestion and improve road safety for all users.

The Ministry of Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure and the National Roads Authority are hoping a new road project will alleviate heavy traffic through Industrial Park and ease congestion onto the Butterfield roundabout at the southern end of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway.

First approved and gazetted in 2016, work on the Airport Connector Road began last month starting from its western terminus at the roundabout south of Cayman International School. Phase one will connect the road to Sparky Drive.

At a Cayman Islands Government press briefing last month, Minister of Planning Joey Hew announced that construction on phase one of the Airport Connector Road was already underway.

“Our traffic modelling system has told us the breakthrough from the Cayman International School roundabout to Sparky Drive will alleviate a lot of the pressure on the Butterfield roundabout, and by extension North Sound Road, which sees a heavy amount of traffic on a daily basis,” he said.

The Roads Authority advertised a request for proposal in January 2020 and contracted Dart’s development team to provide project management services for the construction.

Once complete, the Airport Connector Road will provide easy access from the Owen Roberts International Airport area to the Esterley Tibbetts Highway.

While the Airport Connector Road is designed to eventually be a four-lane, dual carriageway, the Roads Authority will construct only two lanes with a median in phase one of the project. Deep well drainage will be installed, and culverts will also be installed to maintain the water flow of the Mosquito Research & Control Unit dykes, which are very important for controlling mosquito breeding.

The new road will also incorporate the methodology of "Complete Streets," a design approach that requires streets to be planned, designed, operated and maintained to improve safety for all road users.

Dart President of Development, Delivery and Infrastructure Cameron Graham said the organisation was proud to have won the competitive tender to provide project management services.

“The Airport Connector Road is an important infrastructure project that will benefit the Cayman Islands by alleviating traffic and providing safer routes for cyclists and pedestrians in the area,” he said.

The first phase of the project is expected to be completed in 11 to 12 months. The second phase will connect Sparky Drive to Owen Roberts Drive in the vicinity of The Barcadere Marina.

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This article appears in print in the October 2020 edition of Camana Bay Times.

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