Ministry: South Sound boardwalk ‘substantially complete’

The boardwalk in South Sound is mostly finished, and an official opening ceremony for the project will be held in the first quarter of this year, according to government. - Photo: Taneos Ramsay

The $1.3 million South Sound boardwalk is “substantially complete” and government should hold an opening ceremony for the project sometime in the first quarter of this year, according to the Ministry of Infrastructure.

With the boardwalk itself completed, work is now being done to realign the adjacent road to create a bike path. Benches still need to be installed, too.

“It has been great to see walkers of all ages using the boardwalk and it is clear that the project will continue to provide a healthy space for residents to enjoy one of Cayman’s most spectacular vistas,” the ministry stated. “The government encourages the public to be vigilant when driving and walking in this area of South Sound as roadwork continues next month to mark out the permanent locations of the vehicle and cycle lanes.”

The development has had multiple delays since it was announced in June 2016 as part of an overall beautification and improvement scheme for the area. In October 2016, Premier Alden McLaughlin said that work would be completed by the end of that year.

However, no work seemed to have taken place until the National Roads Authority changed the alignment of the road and announced in September 2017 that the change was made to accommodate the boardwalk construction. Dozens of traffic cones dotted the roadside for months, but no work took place until February last year.

Government explained in a press release last January that it was working out “technical details” with the project contractor.

“A contract was signed with The Phoenix Construction Group late last year, but some final technical details had to be worked out prior to commencement,” government said at the time.

Government said last January that the project should be completed by the end of June, but what the ministry termed “robust” construction needs pushed that date by about two months.

“The construction of the boardwalk had to be robust because of its proximity to the sea and the natural undulation of the beach ridge,” government said in July. “There is also a ‘peat’ layer [plant matter] under the sand which can cause movement of the layers above it as water is absorbed or released.”

Government’s update explained that if the boardwalk was simply constructed on top of compacted fill like a typical sidewalk, the material could wash away in inclement weather, crack or wrap over time and eventually lead to structural issues.

“The project is constructed with piles and a combination of concrete members and inlays of Trex planking,” government explained in July, adding that the project should be finished by the end of August.

In October, government again revised its timeline, saying that the boardwalk should be finished within a month.

However, the project ran into more hiccups when a truck ran over the boardwalk on Oct. 17 and broke multiple planks. The responsible party agreed to cover the costs of the repairs, the ministry said at the time.