Smith Road is expected to re-open by next week, bringing relief for motorists and businesses impacted by the three-month construction project.
The $1.8 million road widening project was initially expected to be completed by the end of October but heavy rain last month caused delays.
Paul Parchment, managing director of the National Roads Authority, said major work was “about finished” and once the stop signs and other safety features were complete it would be fully open to the public.
The news was welcomed by businesses in the area, dominated by doctors’ offices and medical clinics as well as Cayman Prep School, which have endured a frustrating few months.
The school has hired additional security guards during the construction period to manage traffic as parents drop-off and collect their children.
Trish Taylor, Cayman Prep Primary School principal, said, “We have been able to minimize disruption through the measures we have put in place. Like everybody on Smith Road, we are really looking forward to it being finished.”
Dr. Krishna Mani, who runs his ophthalmologist’s practice at Pasadora Place, said, the work had impacted patients.
“We have had a lot of people late for appointments or calling to cancel, saying the road is blocked. I think in the long term, it is going to be better for everyone, so we can take a little pain for the long-term gain,” he said.
At the nearby Full of Beans cafe, it has been a similarly slow few months, with construction work making access difficult.
“I think it is going to be very good for us when it is finished, but for now it is a little bit painful,” said Federico Quiroga, at the cafe.
Paige Gallagher, who runs Paige & Co Hair & Beauty Studio next door, said customers had been arriving late and frustrated for appointments, after taking extensive detours through George Town.
Across the street at Windward Pharmacy, it has been a similar story, with staff and customers encountering delays.
“We have had a few patients complain, but hopefully, once it is done it will make the traffic better in this area,” said manager Margarita Howell.
The intersection at Smith Road and Huldah Avenue and Bobby Thompson Way is often clogged with traffic, particularly during mornings with commuters heading into George Town and parents dropping their children at Cayman Prep.
Mr. Parchment said the construction, which involves the addition of a turning lane, would ease traffic flow substantially in the area.
He apologized for the inconvenience to business and motorists during the construction period, but said some disruption was necessary as Cayman looks to upgrade its roads.
He said the end result would be better for everyone.
“The businesses will benefit a great deal. Property is going to go up in value,” he added.
Mr. Parchment said preparation for the project had begun in July, and had been held up initially by legal acquisition issues, before construction began in August. He said it had been a complex project and ultimately would be complete just a few days behind schedule.
“It is not a long stretch of road, but this has been a big, big project,” said Mr. Parchment.
“When you think about how many properties there are on that road, the ground services and telephone lines, there are a lot of logistical issues.”