Final road access still undecided
Road works recently began for a new canal subdivision along the Seven Mile Beach corridor just south of The Strand Shopping Centre.
The new subdivision, called Clipper Bay, is on a narrow strip of land between Snug Harbour and Canal Point and is being developed Buffa Ltd., represented by Rene Hislop, Stephen Hislop and Reginald Delaphenha.
The overall parcel is long and narrow, spanning more than 3,000 feet between the Esterley Tibbetts Highway and the North Sound, and is only about 250 feet wide.
“It’s 40 lots, about 20 acres,” said Rene Hislop. “Phase one sold out in two days.”
Phase two won’t be sold as vacant lots, but as homes, and possibly some multi-family homes, Mr. Hislop said.
The subdivision, when development work is completed, will include filled lots, a seawall and docks.
“They’ll be ready to build on,” he said.
Clipper Bay’s interior road will take 16 months to complete because it will be being built on filled wetland. Mr. Hislop said the road base will be filled to 9 feet above sea level and then allowed to settle before it is paved, allowing for stabilization.
Although the current road works enter from the Esterley Tibbetts Highway on the west end of the property, the final road access will not.
The overall parcel had a road easement onto West Bay Road, but when the Esterley Tibbetts Highway extension from the Galleria Roundabout to Raleigh Quay Road was built – opening in September 2006 – it created a problem because as an arterial road, the Esterley Tibbetts Highway is supposed to have limited access roads connecting to it.
In addition, Denis Thibeault, assistant director of the National Roads Authority Transportation and Planning Unit, said access to the Esterley Tibbetts Highway directly from Clipper Bay “was deemed unsafe due to the location being on the inside of the horizontal curve of the road and the high operating speed of vehicles along this roadway.”
However, there are several other options for road access for Clipper Bay, including the one that was planned for long ago and incorporates the Island Heritage Roundabout, which is sometimes referred to as “the roundabout to nowhere” because it currently does not have any connective roads feeding into it.
“When the Esterley Tibbetts Highway project from the Hyatt site to Lime Tree Bay Avenue was gazetted pursuant to Section 3 of the Roads Law … in May 2005, the plan showed, from the roundabout located south of the Ritz-Carlton property, a road connection to West Bay Road and another one connecting to Canal Point Drive and Jennifer Drive,” Mr. Thibeault said, referring to roads in the Canal Point and Snug Harbour subdivisions.
Mr. Thibeault said that funds for the connective roads going into the Island Heritage Roundabout were not appropriated when that phase of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway was built and, therefore, the roads weren’t constructed.
“However, these two road connectors are essential and their construction will be required, once funding has been addressed.”
Once the connector from the Island Heritage Roundabout to Snug Harbour is built, the intersection of Snug Harbour Drive into the Esterley Tibbetts Highway will remain open, Mr. Thibeault said.
“For the Canal Point Drive intersection, the link to West Bay Road will remain open, while the plan for the link to the Canal Point development (east leg) calls for its eventual closure.”
Initially, the preferred option for the Clipper Bay development is to gain access to the Esterley Tibbetts Highway via Canal Point Drive through the construction of a road that would traverse the piece of property immediately to its north.
“This [solution] would be better for us,” said Mr. Hislop.
However, funding for that project, which would require land acquisition and the construction of the road, is uncertain. Mr. Hislop said it might end up being a joint funding arrangement where Buffa Ltd. did the road construction part.
In the meantime, development work on Clipper Bay continues, and Mr. Hislop said he believes a solution to the road access issue is “on the fast track.”
Kurt Tibbetts, minister of Planning, Lands, Agriculture, Housing and Infrastructure, confirmed that government wants to get the issue sorted out.
“The government has no desire to impede the development of projects of this nature, and Clipper Bay is no exception,” he said. “In order to allow the developers proper access, while allowing as much through traffic on the Esterley Tibbetts Highway as possible, the government is working with all the parties concerned to arrive at the best option which satisfies the situation. We are happy to support developments like this one, and will continue to facilitate dialogue to achieve an amicable resolution.”
Although building a road from Clipper Bay to Canal Point Drive won’t be an overly difficult or expensive task, getting the road from Canal Point Drive to the Island Heritage Roundabout will be. That section of the road would have to be built over an area of deep swamp, which would be expensive to fill.
A similar area, running roughly from Snug Harbour to the Strand Shopping Centre, was encountered during the construction of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway. Rather than demucking and filling the swamp, the National Roads Authority decided to use a geotextile membrane over the swamp and then fill on top of it. The road in that area had to be allowed to settle for about two years before lighting could be installed and the final surface applied.