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.”