GT road changes sought

A number of significant changes to
George Town roads have been proposed in a long-range transportation plan by the
National Roads Authority aimed at improving mobility and traffic safety,
according to the agency’s director.

NRA chief Brian Tomlinson said the
changes to certain roads and intersections in George Town are crucial to allow
Cayman’s capital to handle the increasing flow of traffic.

“There’s a lot of other things that
people would like to see happen, extending the Esterley Tibbetts Highway to
West Bay, extending the East-West Arterial,” Mr. Tomlinson said. “But we really
need to go back into town.” 

But the funding available for
making the road changes is uncertain in the current climate, he said. The
long-range transportation plan was drawn up more than a year ago, and through
to the end of the current fiscal year – which is June – only one major road
construction project is fully funded. The rest of the available cash will have
to go for maintenance projects, he said. 

That project is the widening of
Elgin Avenue outside the soon-to-be completed government office building and
the Walkers building.

“The economy hasn’t improved, so I
don’t expect any large increase in funding for road construction next year,” he
said.

Among the George Town road
improvements envisioned by the roads authority’s transportation plan are the
widening of Bobby Thompson Way between Smith Road and Linford Pierson Highway,
making it a five-lane highway and adding a roundabout at the Linford Pierson
junction. The authority’s plan also calls for the widening of the Linford
Pierson to four lanes from Bobby Thompson and extending the highway down to
Walkers Road.

“This is very controversial,” Mr.
Tomlinson said. “But it’s important for traffic flow in George Town.” 

In addition to the Elgin Road
widening, planners are looking at the possibility of building a cut-through
road from Eastern Avenue where it dead ends at Shedden Road all the way through
to Elgin Avenue. The cut through would come out between the Cricket Square
complex and the new government building, hopefully continuing on to Smith Road.

The idea here, Mr. Tomlinson said,
is to give drivers an alternate route and prevent too much traffic from backing
up on the already clogged Shedden Road and Elgin Avenue.

Another change in the George Town
area traffic planners would like to make is the elimination of the traffic
island at the Smith Road-Crewe Road junction that would allow a roundabout to
be placed in that location.

In addition, the roads authority
has recommended the removal of the traffic signal now at the Lawrence Thompson
Boulevard-West Bay Road intersection. The light could then be placed at the
Lyndhurst-Crewe Road intersection.

“All of those projects would
improve traffic flow, and along with traffic flow you get improved safety,” Mr.
Tomlinson said.

The long-range transportation
plans also include the creation of at least three pedestrian walkways on West
Bay Road, as well as the creation of some new roundabouts and the lowering of
the speed limit for the entire stretch to 30 miles-per-hour.

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