West Bay Road closure imminent

Motorists whose routes home take them past the public beach
on West Bay Road are likely to have to divert to the Esterley Tibbetts from
next week.

Government ministers on Thursday said the closure of the
West Bay Road from Governor’s Way to Raleigh Quay Road next to the old Marriott
Courtyard was imminent and would be likely to happen in the coming week.

The closure of the section of road and the corresponding
opening of the first phase of the expansion of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway
will have to be signed off and gazetted by government and would also be
dependent on the construction schedule of the Esterley Tibbetts expansion work.

Minister Mark Scotland delivered some updates on the
National Road Authority agreement that forms part of the overall ForCayman
Investment Alliance agreement between the government and Dart, revealing that
original plans to create a public beach in front of Victoria House on Seven
Mile Beach had been replaced with a proposal to create a public beach on 700
feet of land at Barkers and 2.5 acres to the north of Smith Cove.

The closure of the section of West Bay Road is to enable
expansion and enhancement work at Public Beach on Seven Mile Beach in time for
the traditional Easter beach camping season and the upcoming NORCECA beach
volleyball tournament and to facilitate the development on Dart’s new hotel on
the old Marriott Courtyard site, ministers told the media at the weekly Cabinet
press briefing Thursday, 14 February.

Mr. Scotland said the new public beach land, which would
transfer from Dart to Crown Land, is far larger than the acreage in front of
Victoria House on Seven Mile Beach, which is about 72 feet in length.

Government minister Cline Glidden said with the expansion of
the Esterley Tibbetts Highway, the speed limit along West Bay Road would be
reduced to 30 miles an hour, once draft legislation is finalised and approved.
Currently, both roads have a 40-mile-an-hour speed limit.

Mr. Glidden said the speed reduction would “reduce the
amount of traffic on West Bay Road and that hopefully will make it a much safer
environment for the many pedestrians using West Bay Road with the heavier and
greater amount of traffic using the Esterley Tibbetts Highway”.

Part of the agreement between Dart and the government also
includes the opening of a new facility for the Sunrise Adult Training Centre.
“A site for that was secured and identified in the second amendment [to the
National Roads Authority agreement],” said Mr. Scotland.

For more on this story, read Friday’s Caymanian Compass.


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