Esterley Tibbetts extension opens today


As published in the Caymanian Compass – MONDAY 16 SEPTEMBER 2013–extension-opens-today/

by Tad Stoner

The road will eliminate the need for northbound traffic to rejoin West Bay Road in order to gain access to Willie Farrington Drive and the Batabano shopping plaza in West Bay. – Photo: David R. Legge

The two spurs linking Willie Farrington Drive and Batabano Road to the Esterley Tibbetts Highway in Grand Cayman will open Monday morning, according to the Cayman Islands Ministry of Planning.

The two links will eliminate the need for northbound traffic to rejoin West Bay Road – passing the West Bay fire station, Cemetery Road and Genevieve Bodden Drive – in order to gain access to Willie Farrington Drive and to the Batabano shopping plaza and facilities at Morgan’s Harbour.

The ministry cautioned motorists to observe speed limits of 40 miles per hour on the main highway, and 30 miles per hour on the single-lane link to Willie Farrington Drive.

Dubbed “phase two” of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway, the two spurs have been completed since the second quarter of the year, awaiting only the go-ahead from the National Roads Authority. The NRA completed safety checks earlier this summer, passing final gazettal of the two links to the Ministry of Planning.

Dart Realty built the original Esterley Tibbetts extension from Governor’s Way to Yacht Drive, creating a new roundabout and including the two freshly opened links, plus a third to the Cayman Islands Yacht Club and the Vista del Mar residential area.

The extension opened March 13, leaving the two spurs outstanding.

Dart built the $35 million highway as part of a December 2011 NRA agreement with the ForCayman Investment Alliance, a Dart-government private/public partnership for development of roads, parks, hiking trails, playgrounds and camping areas, as well as the redevelopment of the old Courtyard Marriott hotel and the expansion of Public Beach.

The link between Willie Farrington Drive and the Reverend Blackman Roundabout is 2,579 feet.. The link between Batabano Road and the roundabout is approximately 2,100 feet.

“All work has been completed on the road, and the National Roads Authority has concluded the required safety audits to sanction the opening of the highway,” Friday’s announcement said. ”For drivers heading into West Bay from George Town, the highway has been constructed as a continuation of the existing dual-lane carriageway (full median) with the exception of the Willie Farrington connection, which is a single carriageway with no median.”

Phase one of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway; known informally as the Harquail Bypass, was opened in late 2006.