Two major thoroughfares connecting the eastern districts to George Town may soon be widened in efforts to alleviate traffic congestion, according to Central Planning Authority documents and a government press release.

That is one of several solutions being sought to address the issue.

Minister of Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure Joey Hew last week held an “emergency interagency meeting” to discuss solutions to the traffic woes impacting Grand Cayman.

“With the growth of communities in the Eastern District, increase in number of cars on our roads and adjustment of school start times have come challenges such as increasing traffic volumes and congestion, increasing travel times, and growing road safety issues,” Hew said in the press release. “These are affecting the quality of life of our people and I have therefore asked the relevant stakeholders to find short and medium term solutions as we continue on track with some of our long term plans.”

Plans call for both Crewe Road and Shamrock Road to be widened to six lanes – three in each direction – between the Silver Oaks roundabout the Red Bay roundabout.

The project would include the addition of a five-foot bicycle lane and sidewalk and travel lanes would be reduced from 12 feet to 11 feet, divided by a 4-foot centre median, according to the Central Planning Authority’s agenda for its 25 Sept. meeting.

No cost estimate for the project was provided. The Cayman Compass has reached out to a government spokesperson for that information.

The NRA Board of Directors also desires to gazette a southbound turning lane from Crewe Road into Grand Harbour.

“While the NRA has recognized for many years that improvements to the road network near the Grand Harbour Roundabout would eventually be required, it is only in the last 2 years that funds have been made available to assess and evaluate the necessary road improvement for the near and medium term future addressing operational short-comings of the road network,” according to the agenda. “Preliminary design and functional plans have now been drawn for the NRA as it prepares to forward gazettal instructions, in the near future.”

Average weekday daily traffic on Shamrock Road in the vicinity of Selkirk Drive grew from 23,800 vehicles per day in 1998 to 40,500 vehicles per day in 2018, according to the Central Planning Authority agenda. That is an increase of 70%. Traffic volume demand on Crewe Road near the Lions Centre has increased by 79% over a 20-year period while traffic volumes on South Sound Road west of Old Crewe Road has increased by about 85%, according to the agenda.

Meanwhile, government leaders plan to discuss with the Private Schools Association the use of a school bus system for the more than 4,000 private school students who are dropped off and picked up at school every day.

The Portfolio of the Civil Service will encourage civil servants who work out of the Government Administration Building to consider the Work Hours Policy, which allows for staggered work hours, according to the government press release.

“We will remind managers of the 2012 Policy and have them encourage wider take up of the existing offerings, including by those departments not operating from the Government Administration Building, where feasible,” Portfolio Chief Officer Gloria McField-Nixon said.

The NRA also plans to reverse the travel lane capacity on Shamrock Road, on the run up to Marina Drive, so there will be two westbound lanes and a turning lane instead of two eastbound lanes that currently exist.* This will be done in mid-October, according to the release.

The NRA also plans to widen Rex Crighton Boulevard to four lanes between the Poindexter Road roundabout and the Chrissie Tomlinson roundabout.

Other projects government plans to start before 2020 include the planned extension of the Airport Connector Road from the roundabout to the George Town landfill on Esterley Tibbetts Highway to Sparkys Drive in the North Sound area; the extension of Godfrey Nixon Way and the East-West Arterial from Hirst Road to Lookout Road.

* Editor’s note: This story has been amended to reflect a correction issued by the Ministry of Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure, that a reversal of travel lane capacity will be carried out on Shamrock Road, not on Marina Drive.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Holding an emergency meeting on an issue that has been going on for years now doesn’t seem like much of a solution.
    What use is calling the fire department 10 years after the house burns down? Also note we are now well into the 2nd full year of this coalition government and they are only now ‘addressing’ this issue. Just in time to spend the next year drawing up grand plans that will conveniently be started during the 6 months leading up to the 2021 election so that the PPM can claim they did something.
    This issue only exists because of decades of lax importation policies, a lack of affordable, usable and reliable mass public transportation and shortsighted governments who think that widening roads and building roundabouts somehow makes traffic disappear (both CDP and PPM)

    This is an issue that will not be solved by mealy mouthed, milquetoast, emergency talk shops that accomplish nothing
    Where are policies that limit car ownership per household to prevent congestion, where are policies preventing importation by private citizens specifically for resale. Mandate that schools private schools provide bus service and then stagger school hours to prevent thousands of cars getting on the road and heading in the same direction at the same times every day

    This is not an issue that will be resolved by simple expanding a road and saying ‘job done’

  2. Dead right Al. Any action now is far too late. It will take a genius to resolve the Eastern District transport problem. It was addressed in the Coopers report in the early 90s but CIG ignored the content. By the way that report was compiled with huge input from Caymanians. If anyone wants a copy contact my office.

  3. Simply widening roadways may not be sufficient, if the design and engineering aspects of road construction are substandard – as is regularly evident on our thoroughfares. Poor road design and construction will contribute to unsafe roads and thus compound existing traffic problems. Present evidence of this is the roundabout on the ETH near the Ritz Carlton golf course. This roundabout is presently being reconstructed for the third time (at significant public expense) in an effort to correct the camber which has been reversed since its initial construction, causing that roundabout to be “slippery” and dangerous. Ironically, I was told by a NRA foreman when the roundabout was being made that the “workers” had complained to the engineers that the camber was incorrect and were told essentially to “mind their own business” and construct what was designed. Another example is the “bridge” behind the Ritz. That has been re-build once already since it was initially constructed and the roadway is sinking again! How many times will public funds have to be spent before the “experts” get it right?!

    There are many more poorly constructed and marked roadways on our island and it seems like the designers and “engineers” thereof continue to deliver these poor standard roadways and sometimes later the road has to be re-built. I’ve seen roadway curbs with improper radii which intrude into traffic lanes, some were corrected later (near Hurleys) – yet some still exist (as one enters the roundabout near ALT from North Sound Rd.); lane markings which tend to “lead” a vehicle to drift into another lane (roundabout at Yacht Club Dr. entering from West Bay via the WBR) and many other design and construction shortcomings.

    I’m definitely not a road engineer or a designer, just an average road user who can see these things.

    Why can’t the politicians and technical “experts” who are responsible see the same?

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