GC pothole blitz is on

Minister of Works Arden McLean said Friday at the Cabinet press briefing that work has begun to repair the many potholes on Grand Cayman’s roads.

‘We’ve had a pothole blitz on since last week,’ he said.

Mr. McLean said the repair work had not started earlier because of the heavy rains in October and part of November.

‘You can’t fill the potholes when it’s wet,’ he said. ‘It has to be dry.’

National Roads Authority crews are working along with Island Paving to patch all the potholes, Mr. McLean said, adding that it intended for the work to be completed before Christmas.

Mr. McLean said crews were also out clearing bushes from the sides of the roads.

‘Hopefully, the majority of that will be completed by Christmas as well,’ he said.

Private contractors have been hired to assist Government workers on that project, too.

Mr. McLean commented on other NRA projects as well.

He said the work on the Elgin Avenue roundabout is expected by be completed by the end of this week and that traffic through the roundabout would be flowing normally again.

Although the round about won’t be paved until later, it will receive an interim chip and spray surface.

Mr. McLean thanked the public for their patience.

‘By and large, this country has been extremely patient while the work has been done on the roundabout,’ he said.

On the subject of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway extension, Mr. McLean said work should commence on the section going through the Hyatt by the end of January 2007.

‘It is my hope and I’ve given the National Roads Authority my mandate, that by the end of 2006, we need to have the road completed to Indies Suites,’ he said.

Commenting on the current traffic situation along West Bay Road, Mr. McLean said it was essential to get the Esterley Tibbetts Highway extension done.

‘We have to do whatever it takes,’ he said, noting that the traffic problem on West Bay Road was only going to get worse with the opening of The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.

It was originally estimated that the extension would cost $15 million, excluding land acquisition costs, to take the road all the way to West Bay.

Government has budgeted $3 million in the fiscal year ending 30 June 2006, and Mr. McLean has said he hopes that amount will take the road to the Ritz Carlton.

However, the NRA faces several challenges on the next section of road, including having to fill in part of the Palm Heights, or Hyatt, canal, and going through a particularly deep section of swamp in the vicinity of the Strand Shopping Centre.

Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts said extending the road to West Bay might not cost as much as originally planned, at least as far a road construction costs are concerned.

He pointed out that the original estimates didn’t take into consideration that Government would not have to pay for a road through The Ritz-Carlton property, and that parts of the road near Lime Tree Bay and the Regatta Office Park (Safe Haven) are already complete.

Mr. Tibbetts said that assuming the amount budgeted for the Esterley Tibbetts Highway extension this fiscal year can get the road a far as the Ritz-Carlton, taking the road then to Indies Suites would not cost as much as people might think.

‘It shouldn’t take more than another $3 million to get it to Indies, maybe a little less,’ he said.

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