A planned speed limit reduction along Cayman’s main tourism thoroughfare is going ahead, though it has been pushed back a few months, government officials confirmed.
National Roads Authority managers said Monday that none of the speed limit changes proposed after public consultation last year have taken effect, including one that would lower the limits along West Bay Road between Bay Town Plaza and the old RBS Coutts building near Public Beach to 30 miles per hour.
The limit along that stretch of road is now 40 mph.
“In regards to the speed limit change, it is [in] the hands of the ministry at the moment,” the National Roads Authority’s Marion Pandohie said.
Officials in the Ministry of Planning said they hoped to put the speed changes into effect by mid-September and were attempting to coordinate the changes with some other public works, including road construction in several areas of George Town district.
Planning Minister Kurt Tibbetts announced in April that speed changes on West Bay Road would take effect in May, along with the installation of additional crosswalks on the busy street where most of Cayman’s major seaside hotels are located.
There are now four crosswalks with flashers installed along the road, including outside the Strand shopping center, the Westin hotel, the Marriott Beach Resort and the Royal Palms Beach Club.
Minister Tibbetts’s announcement in April came less than two weeks after the April 6 accident on West Bay Road that left a teenage tourist in critical condition. Harrison Zierenberg, now 17, was struck by a minivan, and underwent extensive surgery at the Cayman Islands Hospital and additional surgeries back home in the U.S., for extensive head injuries.
His family, from the Richmond, Virginia suburb of Midlothian, told the local news media that Harrison would require extensive recovery, but that he had managed to survive a catastrophic injury.
The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service said no charges have been filed in connection with the April 6 accident as of last week.
“I want to … wish God’s blessings on the young man that was injured in the accident,” Mr. Tibbetts said. “We wish him a full and speedy recovery.”
Plans to change speed limits on a number of local roads were placed before Cabinet in late February or early March 2014. Proposals to lower the speed limits and install crosswalks on West Bay Road along the Seven Mile Beach corridor date back to the first People’s Progressive Movement administration of 2005-2009.
In addition to changing the speed limit and installing more crosswalks, Mr. Tibbetts said other improvements would be coming shortly for West Bay Road.
“[The safety measures will] prevent the middle lane from being used to overtake,” Mr. Tibbetts said. “Those [who] are in a hurry can use the Esterley Tibbetts Highway.”
Speed limit changes proposed as part of a National Roads Authority review in late 2013 included setting the speed limit on Frank Sound Road at 30 mph between Bodden Town Road and Botanic Road. That route’s limit is currently set at 50 mph.
On North Sound Road, the speed limit of 25 mph is set to increase to 30 mph between the Butterfield roundabout and Shedden Road.