Shift in road speed limits nears

National Roads Authority officials plan to meet next week with a panel tasked with the management of traffic on local roads to discuss speed limit changes to a number of Grand Cayman’s roads. 

Part of the discussion will involve the public’s comments in response to the proposed speed limit changes that were collected during the public consultation stage which closed on Dec. 6, 2013.  

On West Bay Road, the speed limit may be reduced to 30 mph between the RBC Coutts building and Eastern Avenue in George Town. That stretch of road has been the scene of a number of fatal accidents in recent years. 

According to a map published by the National Roads Authority, speed limits will be changed along several roads in West Bay and the Eastern districts. 

The speed limit on Frank Sound Road, for example, is set to lower from the current limit of 50 mph to 30 mph from Bodden Town Road to Botanic Road. 

Increased limits in some places possible 

In some places, the speed limit may be increased. Local drivers could be pressing the accelerator a little harder along North Sound Road as its speed limit is proposed to increase from 25 mph to 30 mph between the Butterfield roundabout and Shedden Road. 

Another proposal is having a 40 mph limit on the stretch of West Bay Road between Cemetery Beach and the Yacht Drive roundabout. Currently, that stretch has a 30 mph limit on the lane heading into West Bay and a 40 mph limit on the opposite lane. 

The National Roads Authority’s transportation planner, Marion Pandohi, said officials will take the submitted public comments to the Traffic Management Panel next week to consider before moving on to the next step of determining road speeds. 

The latest traffic bill, passed in 2011, states: “The Governor in Cabinet may make regulations prescribing speed limits relating to particular roads and portions of roads.” This means that any speed limit changes to Cayman’s major roads no longer require an amendment to the law, the matter can now be dealt with through the regulations, with the approval of Cabinet. 

Police welcome speed limit cuts 

Chief Inspector Angelique Howell said that the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service has no objections to any of the proposed speed limit changes. “[Frank Sound Road] is now a school zone. As a result, the speed limit must be reduced, and if you look at that stretch of road to the Butterfield roundabout, no one drives 25 miles along that road,” she said. 

She added that police welcomed the proposed speed limit cut along the Seven Mile Beach corridor. “We have been fighting for years for the West Bay Road [speed limit] to be reduced, so we are quite pleased about that one as well,” she said. 

The National Roads Authority recently launched a new road safety initiative where road officials teamed up with the International Road Assessment Program to conduct an inspection to determine the safety of Cayman’s roads. The survey concluded last week, and NRA officials are waiting for a follow-up report, which is estimated to be released in June. 

During a press conference earlier this month, Kurt Tibbetts, the minister responsible for Cayman’s roads, described the current state of local roads as “very dangerous” and “likely to cause more deaths.” 

The full color-coded map with the proposed speed limits on various streets can be viewed on the NRA’s website, 

West bay road 30mph

The north-bound lane of West Bay Road from Yacht Drive roundabout to West Bay is 30mph, while the south-bound lane on the same stretch of road is 40mph. – PHOTOS: SAMANTHA BONHAM

West Bay Road 40mph

The north-bound lane of West Bay Road from Yacht Drive roundabout to West Bay is 30mph, while the south-bound lane on the same stretch of road is 40mph. – PHOTO: SAMANTHA BONHAM

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