A new three-lane roundabout and underpass next to Camana Bay will open Monday, Dart Real Estate has announced.
Traffic traveling along the Esterley Tibbetts Highway toward George Town will join the new stretch of road at the roundabout to the north of Camana Bay. Vehicles then travel through the underpass to the newly built Camana Bay roundabout, which links back to the existing highway. The old two-lane section of the highway is now known as Emeritus Drive and will become a low-speed, local internal road, passing the Cayman Mac Store and Books & Books.
From Monday, the highway will go from four lanes north of Camana Bay to six lanes as it goes through the underpass, and back to two lanes as it passes the new roundabout.
Ultimately, Dart Real Estate plans to expand the highway to six lanes through to a new roundabout close to Lakeside apartments. The stretch of highway from that point to the Butterfield Roundabout will be expanded to four lanes.
The National Roads Authority has released a video educating motorists on how to use a three-lane roundabout to coincide with the opening.
A broad pedestrian walkway over the new road will also open Monday. It is the first step in a larger infrastructure project that will ultimately link Camana Bay to Seven Mile Beach, over a second underpass bridging West Bay Road.
Dart plans to expand Camana Bay with new retail and restaurant development, over the road. The developer, which has been working on the project for two years, has created a landscaped hill, rising to 34 feet, to bridge the two roads. A ground level parking lot is also planned.
The development is part of the National Roads Authority agreement between Dart and government.
Dart has spent more than US$100 million on new infrastructure, including the extension of the highway, in return for duty concessions and other incentives to facilitate its developments, including the Kimpton Seafire Resort.
Dart Real Estate President Jackie Doak said in a statement, “Infrastructure is more than an economic stimulant, it’s a growth strategy for the Cayman Islands as a place where people want to live, visit and invest. The road infrastructure in the Camana Bay area, the completion of the Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa, the near-completion of The Residences at Seafire and the planned five-star hotel on Seven Mile Beach are a testament to Ken Dart’s confidence in the Cayman Islands’ economy and the capacity for the core industries of financial services and tourism to expand.”
She said the investment was designed to increase the efficiency of Cayman’s roadways and improve the walkability of Camana Bay, including linking the center to the beach. “This world-class infrastructure will accommodate the Cayman Islands’ growth and Camana Bay’s increasing sea to sound connectivity,” she said.
The underpass stretches 450 feet and is estimated to take 14 seconds to pass through. Engineers have installed an “advanced lighting system” to allow drivers’ eyes to adjust to the dark, as well as an industrial strength ventilation system. The 44-ton beams used to support the pedestrian ramp were shipped to Cayman on a charter barge from Florida. A special crane also had to be brought to the island to move the beams into place.
Ahead of the opening Monday, the National Roads Authority will close the Esterley Tibbetts Highway from the Butterfield Roundabout, next to the A. L. Thompson store, to the Century 21 roundabout, north of Camana Bay. The closure will last all day Sunday, though residents of Lakeside will be permitted access.”