Esterley Tibbetts Highway widening project begins

The project to widen the southernmost portion of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway to four lanes, which was announced on Nov. 25, is already under way. 

Morning commuters this week were greeted with the sight of two excavators working on the side of the road clearing out bush and trees. 

The government and Dart announced last month that as part of the third amendment to the National Roads Authority agreement, the Esterley Tibbetts Highway between Lawrence Boulevard and the Butterfield roundabout would be widened to four lanes. When completed, the entire length of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway all the way to Batabano Road in West Bay will be a four-lane, dual-carriage road. 

Earlier this year, Dart announced it would relocate and widen to four lanes the portion of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway to the north – between Lawrence Boulevard and the Galleria/Century 21 roundabout. All of the work will be done in consultation with Cayman’s National Road Authority. 

As is the case with all of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway north of the Galleria Roundabout, the new widened portions will be divided by a median. 

In addition to the widening of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway, the project will also include closing the current roundabout at Lawrence Boulevard; the creation of a new four-lane roundabout between Camana Bay’s Town Centre and beachfront property; the construction of a new mini-roundabout on Lawrence Boulevard in the vicinity of the Islander Complex; and a new roundabout between the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands and Lakeside Apartments, which will serve as the intersection for the planned Airport Connector Road. That roundabout will also provide new access for the Cayman International School. 

Dart has agreed to fund the three new roundabouts and the widening of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway south to the Airport Connector Road roundabout. The government has agreed to reimburse Dart for the cost of the road construction between the Airport Connector Road roundabout and the Butterfield roundabout. 

The latest project involves the addition of two lanes to the section of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway, sometimes referred to as the Harquail Bypass, which was the first portion of the highway to open in December 1997. 

The widening of the road will involve only the land adjoining to the east, toward Cayman International School and the George Town landfill properties. Part of the current phase of the project involves a geotechnical survey to determine the condition of the ground that will serve as the foundation for the road. That survey will determine whether the ground needs further excavation – known as “demucking” – before it is filled to grade. 

Dart Realty Chief Operating Officer Jackie Doak said the clearing work east of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway and the construction of the vehicular underpass would not impact traffic flow in and around Camana Bay. 

“There will be a time a few months from now where the highway expansion will require temporary diversions to accommodate new road construction,” she said. “Dart Realty, in consultation with the National Roads Authority and the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, will provide the public with advance notice of any short-term changes to the road network.” 

Work on widening the southern portion of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway to four lanes started Monday. - Photo: Taneos Ramsay

Work on widening the southern portion of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway to four lanes started Monday. – Photo: Taneos Ramsay

A map outlining the planned changes to the road network between the Galleria roundabout and the Butterfield roundabout.

A map outlining the planned changes to the road network between the Galleria roundabout and the Butterfield roundabout.
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12 COMMENTS

  1. Dart has agreed to fund the three new roundabouts and the widening of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway south to the Airport Connector Road roundabout. The government has agreed to reimburse Dart for the cost of the road construction.

    Curious as to how the Government is going to reimburse Dart for the cost of the road construction. Could it be through duty concessions you know deals like the ones people including the current premier blasted Bush for.

    I personally have no issue with these types of deals because that’s the only way these things will get done and I’d prefer to see Dart doing it than the CIG anyway.

    I only have one question "How is this any different then the deals the the last premier made with Dart which Alden blasted".

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  2. My understanding is that this includes the road that runs right past Camana Bay.

    Which is perhaps the best landscaped and prettiest road in Grand Cayman.
    As well as the worst bottleneck.

    Will they be tearing up the beautiful landscaping? What a waste and a shame this wasn’t better planned to start with.

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  3. @Michael Davis
    Compass,July, 2015:NRA cites concerns with Dart road plan application Issue involves southern section of Esterley Tibbetts Highway.
    Quote:
    "We understand that it [would cost] about $10 million, plus or minus, to complete the four-lane road, and that would probably be a bare bones four lanes with a divider," he said in the interview, noting that he did not think government would have $10 million in its near-term budget for the project. However, he said, there were some ways Dart could recover the expenditure if it were to partner with government on the project.

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  4. @ Norman Linton,

    Fear not sir, as I understand it, the plan is that the four lanes will run as an underpass to the West of Camana Bay, and the ”best landscaped and prettiest road in Grand Cayman” will remain in situ as an access road.- Similar to Market Street in Camana Bay.

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  5. @Norman
    The project, which Dart made public late last year, involves the westward realignment of the section of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway currently abutting the Camana Bay development, and widening it from two lanes to a divided four-lane highway. The plan also calls for the new road to pass underneath an elevated ramp structure that would not only allow for safe pedestrian crossing above the road, but also for the expansion of the Camana Bay Town Centre across the road and an underground parking garage.
    "This elevated section will commence immediately to the west of Books & Books and the Cayman Mac Store," Dart said in a press release Thursday. "The operation of the current Esterley Tibbetts Highway will not be impacted during the construction. Once the new four-lane Esterley Tibbetts Highway bypass is complete, the existing road will transition to a low-speed internal road through Camana Bay."
    http://www.compasscayman.com/caycompass/2015/04/24/Dart-submits-application-for-Esterley-Tibbetts-relocation/

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  6. Still don’t see the huge difference with this to what the UDP was trying to do. Which was to get Dart to build the road and recoup the money through duty concessions. I think are just to downplaying it because it’s basically a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

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