There was another terrible accident
on the Esterley Tibbetts Highway Tuesday and a 24-year-old Filipino woman has
died as a result.
For years now, people have been
talking about the dangers of the stretch of that road that lies between the
Butterfield Roundabout and Lawrence Thompson Boulevard. Despite all the complaints, nothing has been
done and people continue to die.
In 2008, we wrote an editorial
suggesting that passing be banned on that section of road, which is only about
one mile long, partially because a law-abiding driver could only save between
20 and 30 seconds at most by passing a slow-moving vehicle. No one listened.
It’s been suggested that there be
more police presence on the highway, especially at night after the bars and
clubs along Seven Mile Beach close. The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service has
set up a roadblock or two on the Esterley Tibbetts Highway, but these have been
few and far between. Since both drivers
of Tuesday’s accident have been arrested on suspicion of drink driving, this
seems to be a problem the RCIPS needs to address.
Of course, what is really needed is
for the planned widening of the road to four lanes to occur. This has been
talked about for years, but no government has been willing to allocate the
resources to do it. In essence, what these governments are saying is that
multiple human lives are not worth the $4 million price tag for the road.
But there’s probably a way of
making the road safer without it costing that much. Simply by putting a metal
guardrail in the middle of the highway, it would prevent passing and reduce the
chances that a car could veer into the oncoming lane dramatically. This might
require a slight widening of the road as well as placement of the guardrail,
but it wouldn’t cost $4 million.
We understand that the government
is in a budget crisis and that funds for public projects are scarce. But
protecting the lives of residents on a stretch of road that has a bad history
should be higher on the priority list of government than it obviously is now.