Road works snarl traffic

Some residents had a much longer morning commute on Friday because of the traffic tie-ups created by the road works on North Sound Road between the Shedden Road intersection and the Butterfield roundabout.

The road, which is being expanded from two lanes to five lanes, was scheduled to be closed to all but local traffic from last Thursday at 9pm until 6am Friday. Although the National Roads Authority worked through the night to get the scheduled work done, Minster of Works and Infrastructure Arden McLean said it was not completed in time.

‘It spilled into the morning, and for that we apologize,’ he said at the Cabinet press briefing Friday.

Mr. McLean asked the public to be patient.

‘There’s a lot of activity around this country with road works,’ he said. ‘I know people become a little impatient, but it’s all for the better.’

The traffic on North Sound Road will likely remain congested until the road is paved, which is scheduled to occur this week.

The National Roads Authority will only pave four of the five lanes with hot mix asphalt; the fifth lane – closest to the Caymanian Village shopping plaza – will only be spray and chipped initially to allow for Caribbean Utilities Company to install underground electrical ducts, Mr. McLean said.

‘These road works will improve the traffic flow and increase the road capacity of traffic in this section of the road network connecting the Linford Pierson Highway to the Esterley Tibbetts Highway.’

There are several other road projects under way right now in various stages of completion. Besides the one that snarled traffic on Friday, there’s also the Esterley Tibbetts Highway extension, which has already opened on a limited basis. That section of road currently only has a spray and chip surface, but it scheduled to be paved with hot mix.

‘The paving of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway [extension] should have progressed more quickly than it has,’ Mr. McLean said, adding that there have been some technical difficulties.

Those difficulties have now been resolved, and Mr. McLean said the paving is expected to begin around 7 February 2007.

Not all of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway extension will be paved at that point. One section – where a geotextile membrane was used as a road base over a swampy area – will remain the way it is until it has settled longer.

With regard to the east-west arterial highway, Mr. McLean said the NRA has been clearing land and stockpiling aggregate to facilitate the laying the road base for the initial half-mile segment between Poindexter Road and Shamrock Road near its intersection with Mangrove Avenue.