Traffic ground to a standstill Monday morning as the landfill fire caused the closure of a large section of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway.

Commuters were stuck in jams for more than three hours between West Bay and George Town.

There were reports of tourists missing flights and workers turning back home rather than face more time in traffic.

One resident told the Cayman Compass she had opted to walk from Cobalt Coast resort in West Bay to the airport.

Another commuter said it had taken almost five hours to get from East End to Seven Mile Beach in the worst of the traffic.

The highway was closed from Camana Bay to the Butterfield roundabout at AL Thompson’s from Sunday afternoon. The northbound lanes were temporary reopened between 4-6pm on Monday. For a short time Monday morning, a longer stretch of the road, as far as Cost U Less, was closed as firefighters battled the blaze, which started as deep-seated fires last week and escalated in high winds Sunday.

Even with some schools closed and government operating a ‘flexible attendance’ policy, the roads were clogged throughout the morning.

The closures had an impact in both directions, with traffic from the eastern districts also slower than usual.

Several residents commented on the Compass Facebook page about their journeys.
Shelly Mountain said she had given up on the traffic and walked from West Bay. “I still got to the airport before my friend who left at the same time as me and decided to ride out the traffic. Took me 2 hrs 45 mins,” she said.

John McDow said it had taken more than three hours to travel from Newlands to Kirk Home Centre.

“It was miserable. I wish I had just taken a walk or bike,” he said.

Hayley Malloy took three hours from Prospect, with a school drop on the way.

“I left my house on Prospect Point Road at 7:20am, dropped my daughter to Triple C school at 8am and arrived at my office in the Cannon Complex at 10:15am. Hopefully they find a solution to the traffic issue because in an emergency the roads are clogged and no one can get anywhere.”

Kadam Rushikesh clocked the longest journey of any of our readers, reporting an astounding 4 hours and 45 minutes drive from East End to West Bay Road.

For Mehndi Dhaliwal, a journey from the Westin resort to Camana Bay took more than an hour. Arlene Sperandeo had a similar experience travelling from the Kimpton to Foster’s.

Naomi Law reported that the commute from South Sound to Camana Bay took more than two hours.

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