Gridlock on Shamrock

A new traffic pattern began Monday on Shamrock Road in between Mangrove Avenue in Prospect and Selkirk Road in Red Bay, causing significant traffic delays.

Key among the changes is the fact that motorists can no longer travel all the way into town along Shamrock Road if they live east of Selkirk Drive.

The change in traffic flow commenced this week with the opening of the new section of the East-West Arterial Highway south of Shamrock Road going through the Prospect Point area.

National Roads Authority Managing Director Brian Tomlinson said more changes to the traffic flow were coming as the section of Shamrock Road in between the Grand Harbour Roundabout and the Silver Oaks Roundabout is widened.

Traffic tie-ups due to the construction work are likely to continue for at least another month.

‘The tie-in at Red Bay [of the East-West Arterial to Shamrock Road] is scheduled to be done by the middle of March,’ said Mr. Tomlinson.

Only the westbound section of the East-West Arterial Highway through the Prospect Point area was opened Monday. The eastbound section should be opened later this week. Right now, eastbound traffic bottlenecks into one lane of traffic past Selkirk Drive.

Mr. Tomlinson explained how motorists should use the new roads.

Those coming from the east and heading into George Town – whether travelling on Shamrock Road or the East-West Arterial Highway – should use the newly opened road, accessing it at the new roundabout, which has been named the Shamrock Roundabout.

Those travelling west and who are heading for a location in between Mangrove Avenue and the Red Bay Primary School should continue on Shamrock Road to their destination. However, in order for residents and visitors to that area to travel west, they must use the new roundabout – called the Selkirk Roundabout – directly across from Red Bay Primary School. By using that roundabout, motorists will be able to pick up the last section of the East-West Arterial Highway heading west.

People who are travelling west and who wish to stop at a location in between the Lighthouse School and Dilbert’s Plaza next to the On-the-Run Esso station should continue on Shamrock Road to their destinations. However, if residents or visitors to these areas wish to travel west, they must first travel east and make a right-hand turn to get to the Selkirk Roundabout.

Mr. Tomlinson said he is expecting to hear complaints from the merchants and residents along Shamrock Road in between the Lighthouse School and Dilbert’s Plaza.

‘But we’re at the point now in Cayman where we have to move traffic for the betterment of the public good,’ he said.

The National Roads Authority is working extra hours to try to get the road works completed as soon as possible.

‘They worked Friday, Saturday and Sunday night,’ he said. ‘They worked until eight or nine o’clock on Sunday. I was really pleased with how much they got done.’

The new pattern worked well on Monday, but yesterday traffic bogged down on Crewe Road getting into town. Many motorists coming from the east and heading into town used South Sound Road instead, which caused a back-up along that road as well.

Mr. Tomlinson said he wasn’t sure why the traffic on Crewe Road was so backed up on Tuesday. He surmised that it could have been because people have started leaving for work later than they used to, because of the opening of the new roads, creating more traffic on the road at certain times.

‘We’ve seen this phenomenon before when we’ve opened up a new road.’

Mr. Tomlinson urged motorists to continue leaving earlier for work in the morning.

The road work along Shamrock Road will continue into the middle of the year.

The section of road between the Grand Harbour Roundabout and the Sliver Oaks Roundabout will be widened to include a second westbound lane and a centre median. Once completed, all motorists coming out of the businesses and residences on the north side of that road will have to travel east to the Grand Harbour Roundabout in order to circle back to travel west.