Dart makes new bid for tunnel extension

| 05/03/2018 | 111 Comments
Cayman News Service, West Bay Road tunnel Grand Cayman

West Bay Road tunnel, Grand Cayman

(CNS): The Central Planning Authority will consider a revised application this week from one of Dart’s network of companies to expand the tunnel currently under construction on West Bay Road. Cayman Shores was refused planning permission for the extension the last time it appeared before the CPA as the developer had not justified the need. Concerns about pedestrian safety and alternative routes for over-sized vehicles have also blocked the project so far, with agencies also questioning what Dart’s future plans for building on the tunnel will mean for this application.

According to the agenda for Wednesday’s meeting, no formal objections from residents or business owners in the area have been made but CPA will be considering a number of issues raised by government agencies, such as the Department of Environment and the National Roads Authority.

The issues of pedestrian connectivity and safety, an alternative travel route for over-sized vehicles and equipment, public access along the westerly side of the underpass and access the sea, as well as the applicant’s justification for the extension, will be considered by the planning board.

The DoE is asking the CPA to defer the application because it said this proposal should have been the subject of a more comprehensive review of this tunnel as well as the completed underpass on the Esterley Tibbetts Highway, in conjunction with the overall desire of the applicant to develop above these underpasses.

“With the proposed addition of approximately 50% to the tunnel area, and with it the expansion of the area for development above it, the potential impacts will be even more significant to the surrounding area and users. The fragmented review and approval of the tunnel area expansion so far has resulted in a lack of overall assessment of the potential impacts of the project as a whole,” the DoE stated.

“The proposed elevated buildings, roads and walkways on top of the underpass and surrounding elevated area should also be considered at this stage given the association between the projects and the cumulative impact of the entire development.”

Pointing to the scale of the buildings and the total elevation and the need to assess the impact of the
concrete superstructure, the DoE said more information is needed about the whole development before the extension is approved.

The NRA noted that the plans now show a proposed hotel and other structures, starting on the beachfront properties and eventually connecting directly to the existing Camana Bay Town Centre, over both underpasses.

Because of this Dart needs to provide updated details of alternative clear-to-sky transportation routes through Camana Bay for large over-sized cargo, according to the NRA, which has also raised questions about pedestrian walkways over the top of the underpasses and how pedestrian safety will be ensured, as well as timelines for the larger project.

All risks associated with buildings on the underpass will lie with the developer, the NRA has warned, and said the CPA needs to make a definitive determination as to the maximum allowable height of any proposed buildings that may be constructed over the tunnel. Setting out the extent of the proposed development, the NRA said that it believes the plans for the extension of the underpass do not blend into the natural building environment for the historical aesthetic of the current West Bay Road area.

But following a meeting with the NRA and Dart in January, the developer indicated that the tunnel extension is now requisite to the future expansion plans of the Dart Group, with a five-star hotel planned to encompass the entire site.

In its letter of submission, Cayman Shores Development described the tunnel as “essential in the creation of a pedestrian-friendly town connecting Seven Mile Beach to the North Sound”, which it claimed had been part of the Camana Bay vision since inception in the early 1990s.

Pointing to the deal the Dart Group has with government and the NRA, which provides for the “volumetric parcels that is now included in the registered Land Law”, the developer said it was connecting the development between the two underpasses, “taking great care to ensure it allows all of the services required for the long-term build-out of the elevated development plane”.

With the purchase of the Royal Palms property, Dart said it  needs to extend the tunnel to provide adequate beach frontage to connect the future five-star hotel to the rest of Camana Bay.

See the full CPA agenda here.

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Category: development, Local News

Comments (111)

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  1. Hazard Mgmt says:

    Besides the fact that the WB tunnel is currently a traffic hazard and having a monstrosity on top of it is setting a precedent for ugliville, the primary concern should be around hazard management for residents living west of Camana bay. What alternatives are there in the event if road access natural disaster and/or severe medical emergencies? Lets for argument say Camana bay catches on fire – London bridge style from north sound to seven mile. All roads on either side of Camana would be inaccessible. Traffic can only be diverted to WB road which now has a restrictive low roof single lane tunnel. Can utility vehicles like TRex / CUC and crane trucks get through WB tunnel?
    Before the tunnel extension and buildings on top of it get the go ahead, hazard management should be pushing for improved fire and ambulance facilities as well as a full service hospital in West Bay to accommodate such an eventuality.
    Since phase 1 of concreteville has already been approved the Dept planning, Hazard Mgmt and NRA better pull their fingers out their noses and demand a number of things be put in place before darts phase 2 is unveiled (and given history with or without planning)

  2. Anonymous says:

    It would be interesting to have the CPA members disclose how much money flows into their personal business from the Dart Group. I bet if we had that information we would not question whether or not this will be approved.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I was told that they were so sure of approval that the merely cut and pasted text from the original request!
    That’s balls!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Go DART Go DART Go! bring some civilization to the Caymanian People. sell sell sell

    • Anonymous says:

      What is wrong with you. Go see a shrink and get happy.

    • Anonymous says:

      Get back to your classroom. Recess is over.

    • Anonymous says:

      Failure to plan Cayman! This proposal is out of character for our little island and it is so unnecessary. Should’nt tunnels/overpasses be created to facilitate public transport – this is the opposite. Take charge of your Island Planning Board – that someone wants to do this is not justification. Surely the developers already own enough land – but no, they got the Govt to make this volumetric provision so they can create land over the road. Seems they are now in charge. We are lost.

  5. Anonymous says:

    ‘live, work, play’ – no wonder Mr Dart feels the need to jaunt off on mountain biking expeditions in his helicopter with one tunnel here a high speed apex and the other a proving ground for transition lenses, – it’s all good though Dartbots, the safe place for cyclists left behind trying to navigate through the SMB corridor isn’t hazardous, its simply just a lot more interesting.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Why a man feels the necessity to turf up a Country’s previously unique existence, culture, charm and attraction into his own vision is beyond me.

    Throughout history many have tried to build the ideal town and all have failed. The real question therefore has to be what is the underlying motivation, – a philanthropic effort hardly, – proven in other Countries with essentially legal extortion and the demise of ethical practices. Dartbots keep your feet in the stirrups and ride blindly with the Dark Knight ignorant of what is truly being accomplished becoming a fragment of ‘the legacy’

    • Anonymous says:

      Caymanians had no problem selling the “unique existence, culture charm and attraction” to Mr. Dart so don’t blame him.

      • Anonymous says:

        I still blame him

      • Anonymous says:

        The unique existence, culture charm and attraction of a swamp.

        • Anonymous says:

          You are an insolent and rude. Trump much?

          • Anonymous says:

            Why do you say that? It was a swamp and the old West Indian Club was a total eye sore.

            • Anonymous says:

              The I say that because it’s rude and totally ignorant to compare someone’s culture and surroundings to something you consider to be less than yours or sub-par. It’s like Donny Whoppers (still the US president) calling places shitholes.
              If you are a Caymanian that grew up here… have at it. Otherwise it’s hurtful and just plain ignorant.

        • Anonymous says:

          A swamp? 12.28pm! It still must be better here…. you still here? You have some audacity.

      • Anonymous says:

        Think bigger

      • Anonymous says:

        Really darling, you should go live in a mall in America. I say this in all seriousness. I think you would be very happy there.

      • Anonymous says:

        so your neighbor sells their property to me, I decide I want to stockpile vast amounts manure and compost for my garden to your disapproval. It’s not my fault, its your neighbors for selling me the property…

    • Anonymous says:

      So, a coconut tree and no income is what you want to go back to?

  7. Soldier Crab says:

    Nationalise Camana Bay, the Kimpton and any other functioning business owned by the Dart Group.
    The income will support all CIG costs for ever.

    • Anonymous says:

      Quite possibly the dumbest post for 2018. And it’s only March!

    • Ambassador of Absurdistan says:

      Just Another Day in Absurdistan

    • Anonymous says:

      It will happen one day when the land redistribution laws are enacted by MLAs who care about the Caymanian people.

      Stsy tuned.

    • Anonymous says:

      Nothing that is ever nationalized makes money…

    • Anonymous says:

      You do that and watch the money leave this island like water down a drain. All foreign companies would just leave empty buildings, no money and no jobs. You been to most of the Caribbean and seen the poverty in the islands that have limited investment?

    • Anonymous says:

      Interesting that Dart can dictate what is done with our roads, take over the air rights above them. build tunnels, build massive poorly planned roundabouts that serve his holding but does not give equal consideration to other land owners, dig up natural beach rock from the ocean bottom, and yet we take offense at nationalizing his holdings. Is not turnabout fair play. (Please read this with extreme sarcasm as I intend.)

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you thinking something more like this:
      Interesting times we live in…

  8. Anonymous says:

    There is one royal palm left. Tree preservation order?

    • Anonymous says:

      That would be funny. Watch them quickly remove it now though, before it gets in the way.

      Never have the words, they paved paradise, and put in a (multistory) parking lot been truer.

    • Anonymous says:

      And plant a few hundred palms when it is developed

  9. Conrad says:

    Two highways to and from west bay blocked by tunnels – not a good idea bo bo considering you have 7 storey condos that would require equipments that potentially be blocked by these tunnels or future developments?

    • Anonymous says:

      100% wrong. access around camana bay. try another lame excuse

      • Anonymous says:

        how? The only way would be to come through the new roundabout near Lakeside, go around Cayman International School and then right thought the center o Camana Bay..I would like to see those trucks or cranes making those tight corners and trying to get through when there is an emergency and school has just gotten out…Good Luck with that!

    • Anonymous says:

      Still wondering if the hook n ladder fire truck reaches the top floors of the Kimpton?

      • Jotnar says:

        I am sure it doesn’t. Also fairly sure the same problem exists in almost every city in the world with buildings over a couple hundred feet high.

        • Anonymous says:

          I’m fine with it. I love the smell of roasted penthouse in the morning. Reminds me of …..money.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Owning 60% of real estate here is his leverage. Cayman has only woke up to what he’s doing now, and its a bit late to start crying foul. He very likely has the whole MLA membership in his deep pockets and they aren’t about to climb out. Until there’s nothing short of mass protests, blockade of West Bay Road and enacting of laws to restrict this vulture’s progress in short order the concrete will keep on pouring.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Who granted him air rights to build buildings above the road. Should he not pay ground rent to the NRA or CIG?

  12. Anonymous says:

    in ken i trust……it’s dart or bust!

  13. Anonymous says:

    yikes…nothing but nimby naysayers on here…and none of them have given one valid reason for rejection.
    thank goodness for planning boards and due process.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think you’ll find that most people find that this type of construction is not in keeping with what Cayman is, was or wants for it’s future unless is serves a real shared purpose. Exclusionist and elitist devlelopment only serves one faction of our population and going forward it’s not really what tourists want, if so why would they leave Miami?

      • Anonymous says:

        Well yeah, except the people who earn a paycheck by either working directly for Dart or through the massive supply chain that services these properties. Other than being completely wrong, you are absolutely right.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Not sure how the extension impedes height restrictions any more than the approved tunnel, or the Ritz walkway or the old Hyatt walkway which by the way came before Dart built the first road to bypass these obstacles in the first place.

    Though I will miss Royal Palms, I say roll the cement trucks, those huge CIG bills aren’t going to go down any time soon.

  15. West bay Premier says:

    Is these tunnels wide enough for 4 lanes toll booths in future? That’s what they look like to me .

    • Anonymous says:

      Yup. The guy is investing couple billion in Cayman so he can eventually put in a toll road. You finally figured out his hidden agenda. Well done.

      • Anonymous says:

        7.10, West bay premier is so smart that we ought to build a church, (funded by CIG of course) and worship him at it every day. You and I can be founder members. We are not worthy!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Clearly you have never seen a road that fits the demand of motorists.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Not only do we have kirkbots about the port, we pretty clearly have anti Dart bots too. the amount of votes in such a short time defies belief, that never happens normally unless someone is pushing their agenda, or more likely the delete history and vote again buttons.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Wait until you find out about the undersea “Bouge Rail Tunnel” they are planning between West End and Point Of Sand.

    • Anonymous says:

      Now there’s a great idea! Can hardly wait for that one. Assuming you meant ‘Bogue’

    • Anonymous says:

      Bouge Rail Tunnel? Now thats a novel idea.

      Something unique and forward thinking instead of simply building hotels, apartments, shopping malls and buying up all of the local merchant businessess.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I think the correct term is Underpass not Tunnel. Tunnels are subsurface.

    I would agree that the Underpass doesn’t look great at the moment, but you have to have a little vision.

    One of the main reasons I invested in Cayman is because of Dart. Anyone with that kind of financial commitment to the island inspires a great deal of confidence to outside investors. Outside investment will lead to economic growth and long term stability, which benefits those who live here.

    Stop complaining and start capitalizing.

    • Anonymous says:

      So says the recently arrived carpet bagger. Responsible people who appreciated the charm of Cayman and not hell bent on destroying the soul of an island were investing long before Ken Dart. Economic stability cannot come at the price of mass imported labour just ask the Labour government of the 90’s – wait and see what happens here, idiot.

    • Anonymous says:

      False writer again at work ba a Dartbot.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s not his financial commitment I have an issue with, its his design commitment!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Next thing comes those enormous Grafitti walls like the Paris or New York

    • Anonymous says:

      Well, teach your kids not to be little shits and it won’t happen.

      • Anonymous says:

        Good point, except my ‘kids’ are in their late 20’s and they’re certainly not ‘little’ and even more certainly not ‘shits’ … how ’bout yours ? Not the pot calling the kettle …eh?

  20. Anonymous says:

    “Dart said it needs to extend the tunnel to provide adequate beach frontage to connect the future five-star hotel to the rest of Camana Bay.”
    How exactly does extending the tunnel provide adequate beach frontage?
    It scares me to think what monstrosity we’re going to end up with after an extended tunnel and structures on top of it. An eyesore worse than the Kimpton most likely.

  21. Anonymous says:

    The tunnel is completely out of proportion to anything on West Bay Road. It is a monstrosity and only someone on Ken Dart’s pay roll would describe it as a vision. Shame on the government, shame on the good people employed by Ken Dart who know it is a step too far.

  22. Anonymous says:

    That is anything bad besides the stupid tunnels. Anyone who thinks they look good needs to have their brains examined.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dart equals a Juggernaut now, no stopping the cartel at this juncture. I’ve driven under more pleasant railway tunnel overpasses located inner-city.

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh yeah, like most Caymanians, I just lived to admire the sky while walking down WBR.

  23. Anonymous says:

    The government will let him build what he wants after they put on a show for the voters.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Essential?! Ha….hilarious….essential my b*tt….they’ll build a hotel regardless….needs to extend the tunnel to provide adequate beach frontage?! These guys are comedians

  25. Anonymous says:

    What Dart wants Dart gets, the planning approval process is just a charade….that’s the worst reality about all of this – this is not a Cayman Islands vision, it’s a Dart vision – and nobody else has a say…

  26. Anonymous says:

    I am sorry Mr. Dart, having seen a glimpse of what the overpass would look like on the West Bay Road, I am simply horrified. That has got to be the ugliest thing Dart has done to date. It may be cool to have your guests access the waterfront from your inland facilities, but to the rest of us living here that horrific transformation of the west bay road, that now looks like a US inner city is embarrassing to Cayman. Planning please do not allow this and if possible could you reverse the original approval and have Dart remove that overpass so that we can once again see the sunlight.

    • Anonymous says:

      Only in Cayman would someone judge a project that is still in construction phase. Constructions sites are never pretty….you need to get out more.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s not finished you numptie. Of course it looks crap. That section of wbr is all crappy fast food places and a petrol station anyway…

  27. Anonymous says:

    you have my approval.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Will locals be able to use a chair for one hour if they buy a $15 drink and $23 sandwich with 18% service charge? Or will this overpass only be of use to guests of the hotel? Can’t imagine why I’d bother to walk over to the hotel unless I can make the same use of it that I did of Royal Palms.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Oh my … Mr Moses in a Tourism meeting last week… you were talking about ISLAND FEEL and ISLAND experience. These islands are fast loosing the island look and feel – have you not noticed ???? You need to jump on this. Also the talk is that Dart now owns most of Litttle Cayman and lots of Cayman Brac. When are we going to change the laws to stop this greedy madness. These are some of the reasons you all were elected. We need your help.

    My God can’t you all see what is happening.

    • Anonymous says:

      I say no, he’s caused a bottle neck where there should be none. Are we going to get the 3 lanes back?

      • Anonymous says:

        Traffic should be using the bypass, unless you need a Whopper or a Dave’s Double stay on the highway.

      • Jotnar says:

        What use would a lane intended for turning be in a tunnel with concrete walls? You might have a point if he had restricted from 4 lanes to 2 but whilst it may be news for some Cayman drivers the central lane in meant to be for turning not overtaking.

        • Anonymous says:

          The third lane offered a pathway if a lane was blocked (for example due to an accident).

          • Anonymous says:

            Good answer, I was thinking the same thing. It should actually be way wider than for 3 lanes. Some people have no true vision.
            I’m also hoping for room for a bicycle lane. But I’m sure that is not being considered since this is a driving island mainly..

      • Anonymous says:

        It’s ugly! Ruined the 7mb vibe w/ Kimpton and this “tunnel “ is just an eyesore! ?

    • Anonymous says:

      Mr Dart has never held anyone down with a cutlass to their neck forcing them to sell their properties or what have you. T put it straight to you all of his projects are great which makes Cayman look good. If he wasn’t developing Cayman then there would be some third world folks. At least I haven’t passed any of his developments and see luggages clothing and the what have yous outside by the sidewalk for sale. He enhances the Island. Just hope that he would sink alittle of the money in the Botanic Park. Anyhow Uncle Dart you have my blessings as a 100% Caymanian. Passing through Georgia I was pleasantly surprised to see his many business places, and you know what I said “That’s the Man”.

      • Anonymous says:


        He is a paper Caymanian and that will never change.

        He came here to make money and found cheaply corruptable people.

        Nothing he does is “For Cayman” it is ALL FOR DART.

    • Anonymous says:

      11:31 have you stop to relize that dart is not stealing our peoples land, ,,,,they selling, he buying. Who are the fools.? We are ..don’t sell him yours ,your children needs it .

  30. Anonymous says:

    I say NO approval but I know the $$$ will talk and CPA will approve. Disgusting!

  31. Anonymous says:

    Just let them do it already…he has never built anything bad on this island and even the usual cave dweller mentality from the ignorant but vociferous minority all hush up when they see what has been achieved…generally something far better than any CIG project has achieved. In my book, the only thing Dart does not do well at, is building roundabouts.

    • Anonymous says:

      Another boot licker!

    • Anonymous says:

      11:03am. Go back to your cave you ignoramus. Better yet, go live in the new Dart Tunnel.

      This type of tourism is outdated and that’s why you like it.

      Look at the future shape of island tourism globally, I dare you.

      I know that you won’t so better you stay in your cave (oops, tunnel). ????

      • Anonymous says:

        2.09, I am sure you were trying to tell me something. When you work out what it is, please put it in English and I will get back to you. Oh, very few people live in tunnels, by the way. They are designed for cars or trains and occasionally pedestrians. People do live in caves sometimes (generally people who lived a few thousand years ago, although it seems some here still do). You seem confused and perhaps need some help. I am delighted to assist. Apologies for using some big words.

        • Anonymous says:

          4:21pm. I knew that you would not get it. You shiuld go out and visit the big wide world a bit. Get out of your cave (tunnel, underpass).

          Your vision of the future shape of island tourism is really outdated.

          • Anonymous says:

            Stunned by your intellectual abilities 4.53 am. Try getting more sleep, it helps people to make sense.

    • anonymous says:

      11.03 am, I could be wrong but you sound like a big-time fan of all things Dart. That, combined with whatever you’re smoking, has evidently had a corrosive effect on whatever common sense you may have once possessed. There is a laser procedure for lingual separation from Dart’s underpass, and I would very much advise you to look into it before the connection becomes permanent. I will draw a picture on my cave wall for you to peruse at your leisure. Thank you.

      • Anonymous says:

        2:36pm. Quite the opposite cuz. Read again.

        Dartland is an outdated vision.

        Successful island tourism for the future it is not!

    • Anonymous says:

      Nothing wrong with roundabouts, it’s not his fault driving standards are so poor.

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