With two major highway expansions in process, Transport Minister Joey Hew said government is doing all it can to ease traffic congestion in Grand Cayman.
But the new minister cautioned: “We can only build so many roads. At some point we are going to run out of space.”
He said government will need to look at improving public transportation and potentially promote ride-sharing if the population and traffic congestion continue to grow.
Traffic jams on roads around George Town are regular occurrences on weekday mornings and evenings, particularly during school term. A journey from Savannah to George Town, typically a 10-minute drive, can take as long as an hour in the mornings.
Mr. Hew, speaking after the unveiling of a new road safety campaign last week, said the expansion of the Linford Pierson Highway and the Esterley Tibbetts Highway to four lanes would help reduce some of the impact. He also said the National Roads Authority is investigating reconfiguring some busy intersections, including the Hurley’s roundabout, in an effort to ease congestion.
He said the new highways also have the potential for expansion as Cayman grows.
“Ultimately, we are building all these roads with the ability to go to three lanes, but at the end of the day we are going to have to focus on implementing a proper public transport system and encouraging people to use greener, smaller vehicles, as well as car sharing and getting out there and getting healthy and riding our bikes to work sometimes.
“We are going to have to do something about public transport, and through duty structures and other incentives, start encouraging smaller vehicles and environmentally friendly vehicles in order to reduce the size and speed and amount of vehicles on our roads.”
There were 36,134 registered vehicles on Cayman’s roads in 2015, the highest ever recorded. No data has been released for 2016. Figures available on the Economics and Statistics Office website go back to 1999, when there were 22,828 licensed vehicles on the road.