Road projects focus on quick wins

Roadworks continued at the Chrissie Tomlinson Roundabout in Prospect Monday. -Photo: Taneos Ramsay

The National Roads Authority is focussing on five main projects over the next two years.
With just over $40 million in the budget, engineers are already at work on what they believe will be ‘quick wins’ when it comes to cutting traffic congestion.

Sophisticated software has been used to build the roads in the virtual world prior to construction to assess their likely impact.

The main projects are:

1. Linford Pierson Highway

What’s happening?

The Linford Pierson Highway will be expanded to four lanes all the way through to George Town, and a new roundabout will be added. Bobby Thompson Way will also be expanded to four lanes, through to the intersection with Smith Road.

When will work take place?

Infrastructure Minister Joey Hew indicated government was close to going out to tender on the project and work is expected to start this year.

What difference will it make?

Based on analysis using the software programme, VISUM, the NRA estimates maximum traffic queues on the evening commute will be reduced by as much as 1.5 miles by 2021 compared with a ‘do nothing’ scenario. In other words, the out-of-town traffic jam will start by the cricket pitch, instead of by A. L. Thompson’s.

2. Grand Harbour widening/improvements

What’s happening?

The plan is to add an additional lane in each direction from the Silver Oaks roundabout by Kings Sports Centre, through to the Auto Spa roundabout (just before Barcam Esso). That’s around a mile-long stretch that encompasses the Grand Harbour roundabout, which will also go up to six lanes.

When will work take place?

The NRA expects road works to begin before summer.

What difference will it make?

The model suggests it will reduce queues by more than a mile for eastbound traffic on the evening commute.

3. Airport connector road

What’s happening?

The first phase of the airport connector road project will link the new roundabout by Cayman International School to Sparky Drive in Industrial Park.
Eventually the road will continue past George Town Barcadere to link to the airport, but that second phase is not budgeted as yet.

When will work take place?

The NRA expects road works to begin before summer.

What difference will it make?

The route is expected to lessen the amount of industrial traffic coming through the Butterfield roundabout by A.L. Thompson’s. The model shows it will reduce northbound queues along Godfrey Nixon Way by 1.5 miles in the evening.

4. East-West Arterial widening

What’s happening?

A 0.6-mile-long stretch of the highway will be widened to four lanes from the Chrissie Tomlinson roundabout, which will also be widened, as far as Poindexter Road.

When will the work take place?

Clearing has already begun and work is expected to be completed this year.

What difference will it make?

No precise modeling has been done on this route but it is expected to ease traffic flows through the roundabout and cut commute times for people in Prospect.

5. East West Arterial expansion
(Not shown on map)

What is happening?

The highway will be extended from Savannah, initially as far as Northward and then on to Bodden Town. Eventually government aims to take the road as far as Frank Sound though that is not part of the immediate plan.

When will the work take place?

A small section could proceed in short order but an environmental impact assessment is required for the longer route. Government has money in the budget for construction over the next two years but a start date could depend on the outcome of the EIA.

What difference will it make?

The extensions is expected to alleviate morning queues out of Bodden Town and prevent traffic from a number of housing developments backing up on side roads as commuters try to get on to Shamrock Road.

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