The extension of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway northward to the Courtyard Marriott will be accelerated to help ease the traffic problem along West Bay Road, Minister of Works Arden McLean said last Thursday.
Early last month, Mr. McLean said the government hoped to have the road built that far north by the end of December 2006.
‘Since then, the traffic is getting that much worse,’ Mr. McLean said as a reason for speeding up the plan.
‘I have received approval in principle from Cabinet to accelerate the building of [the Esterley Tibbetts Highway extension], subject to cost.’
Mr. McLean said the National Roads Authority is reviewing the cost issue.
‘I will meet with them early in the new year to set out the completion of that road,’ he said, noting that the exact timing of completion is not known.
‘Certainly, it will happen long before 31 December, 2006.’
The project will require most of the heavy equipment available on the island, particularly trucks, Mr. McLean said.
Big projects like Camana Bay have been using most of the trucks in the country, he said.
Even though it will stretch the available road building resources, Mr. McLean said the government believed it could build the road in a shorter period of time.
‘Help is really on the way,’ he said to the residents of West Bay.
In the interim, Mr. McLean said the reconfiguration of West Bay Road heading south toward the Galleria roundabout would still go ahead.
That reconfiguration will create a left-hand lane that only turns onto the Esterley Tibbetts highway at the Galleria roundabout, while the centre lane will travel only towards George Town.
Mr. McLean said a piece of land had to be acquired near the Regency Court Building to facilitate the turning lane. He said the land acquisition had to be gazetted and then there is a statutory time period in which declarations of interest can be made concerning the property.
The lane reconfiguration is only proposed to be a temporary measure, Mr. McLean said.
As another way of improving traffic flow on West Bay Road before the completion of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway extension, Mr. McLean once again appealed to motorists not to turn off the main road and cut through the Governor’s Harbour area from the Courtyard Marriott to Safe Haven Drive.
The manoeuvre creates traffic tie ups when the vehicles have to get back on West Bay Road.
Mr. McLean said if motorists did not stop turning off the main road there, measures would be taken to prevent it.
‘If it is necessary to block that road, that is what we’ll do,’ he said, adding that he was going to discuss the possibility with police authorities.
Speaking about other road works, the Minister said the area of Shamrock road near the Hirst Road junction in Savannah would be widened heading west to allow for the better merging of cars coming from Hirst Road.
That widening would extend to just past the Savannah Primary School, Mr. McLean said.
The work widening the road to four lanes between the Elgin Avenue roundabout and the Butterfield roundabout in George Town will also recommence early in the new year, after a temporary stoppage for the holidays.
‘Hopefully, that work will be completed in February,’ Mr. McLean said.