Frustration on roads as traffic congestion increases

More than 2,000 additional vehicles were on Cayman’s roads in 2014, fueling rising traffic congestion in and around George Town. 

According to the Department of Vehicle and Driver’s Licensing, 35,885 vehicles were licensed in 2014, compared to 33,649 in 2013. 

“There are too many cars on the road. If we keep going like this, over a period of time, we are not going to be able to go anywhere,” said Inspector Adrian Barnett, head of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service traffic department. 

Commuters from the eastern districts have reported the worsening traffic congestion, saying it can take up to an hour to travel to George Town from Savannah at peak times in the morning. The same trip outside of rush hour ordinarily takes around 10 minutes. 

Government and the National Roads Authority have embarked on a road-widening program which they believe will eventually help relieve congestion. 

Wil Pineau, chief executive officer of the Chamber of Commerce, said traffic issues are an ongoing source of frustration for businesses.  

“Traffic congestion is becoming a way of life for many motorists, with delays during busy morning and afternoon commutes,” he said. “As Cayman’s population and the number of vehicles increases, traffic will become an even bigger issue in the future. There is a need to develop a national infrastructure plan that includes a long-range plan to set aside funding for new road development, maintenance and improvements.” 

The number of licensed vehicles in 2014 represents the highest on record. Figures available on the Economics and Statistics Office website go back to 1999, when there were 22,828 licensed vehicles on the road. 

The large increase in the number of vehicles in 2014 coincides with an estimated increase in population of around 2,500, a figure from another Economics and Statistics Office survey. 

Inspector Barnett said the increase in vehicles, combined with generally poor driving standards, is contributing to more road accidents. 

“There is too much volume of traffic for the design of the roads,” he said. The problem is compounded by the fact that there are too many roundabouts, many of which are poorly designed, and that many drivers don’t know how to use them properly, he added. “We had around 1,000 traffic accidents last year and many of them could have been avoided if the driving standards were better,” he said.  

The National Roads Authority did not respond to requests for comment.  

Government has already indicated it is planning to revamp roads around the capital, including widening the Linford Pierson Highway to four lanes, in an effort to deal with the problem. 

Mr. Pineau said some employers are introducing staggered work hours and allowing employees to work from home because of the traffic congestion. He said promoting greater use of public transportation and carpooling could also help alleviate the problem. 

But he acknowledged that many people rely on their vehicles during the day and may not be willing to compromise. 

“These strategies will only be effective, however, if residents and employers are willing to promote and to accept them,” he said. 


  1. With the increase of 1500 people coming and more hotels and condos, its not going to happen. We have to understand the East is the solution. Opening up the center of the island to commerce will allow for expansion. It will help give us less travelling time to reach our destination.
    We need to build the capital in the middle. Land is cheap and if water does rise then filling land is even cheaper.
    We have seen new condos and commercial property on 7 mile beach build 8 ft. above street level already. This is obviously too compensate for hurricanes in the future.
    Dart’s new hotel is 24ft. above ground and the new project to be built east to west by Coral Caymanian to Camana bay will be 36 ft. above ground. He obviously has engineers telling him to build for the future. In case? Hmm..
    Why not take the vision and follow suit? Build the Airport and cruise ship facility on higher ground.
    Let us renovate the second floor of ORIA instead and finish in 6 months. If we use escalators between first and second fioors we use twice the amount of space we had before and can afford the jetways.
    How can we tear down and build the same building without causing more stress, frustration and take at least 6 years to build a new one story building? Make that a private airport for private jets, they’re growing in number.
    The same thing with the cruise lines in GT?
    GT could be a new yacht club basin for large Yachts like Paul Allen’s which will feed commercial businesses instead. Just a thought.

  2. Not once in this article CYCLING INFRASTRUCTURE was mentioned. What this tiny speck of land is turning into? Lack of vision and absence of a Master plan. What do you want this island to be 50 years from now? Who do you want to attract and keep? What kind of people, what kind of businesses? Is it going to be a concrete jungle or an eco-resort? It is time to decide. What we see now is haphazard jumping from one idea to another with no particular goal in mind. You need leaders with vision. The leader you have just patch holes after a heavy rain. Figuratively speaking.

  3. David I agree with everything you have said. I do not know why they are cramping everything in George Town and West Bay Road.
    And I really had to laugh at Adrian’s comments, he is right, soon we won’t be going anywhere. Maybe in the next five years we will back out of our drive way and realize that the traffic is right there. There is no place left in George Town to park. Even business places do not have enough space for their staff and customers. Don’t go to the Hospital and is sick; because you definitely may die driving around for more than half an hour trying to find place to park. we definitely are going to have to consider roads on top, of build something similar to metro rail like any other fast growing country. Or we can choose to park up by the Lion Centre and walk in Town to work.
    The real problem is that no one is encouraged to expand to the outer districts with their business, and besides that when business want to come into the outer districts, their application is SHOT DOWN by greed selfish can’t get enough people.. Look at the many persons going to George Town every morning to work at the supermarkets, restaurants, banks, hotels and too much more to list. People on this end of the Island is suffering. The small business persons and retirees who are already rich have objected before about new business in the Eastern district, We know, and it is high time they cut that out now. Gas stations with their mini shops that are charging $12 dollars for a gallon of milk and $8 dollars for a bread, $7.00 for a pack of eggs is high way robbery. Anyway we may have to wait another two years to see changes, but believe me when I say they WILL come.

  4. Compass, can you return to the Independent assessment of Grand Cayman”s roads that took way too long to complete and probably cost way too much.
    You had an article where Mr.Pandohie said the NRA is still looking at the assessment and figuring out how to implement some of the recommendations. Kind of a vague statement and no obligations attitude. You know, CIG still looking at the dump and figuring out what to do.
    Where the report is published? Who is overseeing the implementation of the recommendations? Who is in charge? What is the time frame for implementations? Which implementations are given priority?
    One would think that if they hired people to do the assessment, they would want to implement its recommendation and make roads safer and reduce commute time. Or they now need another assessment? How to reduce commute time?

  5. Cut duty on scooters and motorcycles.

    PSAs on how to use roundabouts, how to indicate, how to only use the right lane of dual carriageways if you are passing slower traffic, and what constitutes a safe braking distance.

    Police actually being able to model the above.

    Fewer, but bigger, better driven buses.

    In reality, none of the above will happen.

  6. Scooters are a great idea as long as they are not driven by lunatics.
    But where to safely park them? If you leave a scooter overnight in George Town you can guarantee it will be gone by morning. Even if left in a private car park.

  7. L Bell you have some very good questions and some very good suggestions, but guess who is being quiet and ignoring the people? No one but the people who represent us. Just you wait until another year pass and there will be dump promises, road promises, business promises and every promise on earth that can be found to try and get them to the promised land. It just cannot work any more we want to see results because we are tired of looking at assessments, and trying to figure out who really is in charge.

  8. Perhaps Cayman’s finest could run some honey trap operations with tempting scooters.

    Cycling provisions would be great, but until employers can provide showering facilities, and the appalling driving skills are addressed, it isn’t a viable option for many.

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