EWA extension will reduce congestion, says premier

| 11/04/2022 | 92 Comments
Area of planned road extension

(CNS): Premier Wayne Panton has said government is going ahead with the East-West Arterial Road extension as it will reduce traffic congestion from the Eastern Districts and this remains a top PACT priority. Despite the controversies surrounding this road, which threatens the Central Mangrove Wetlands directly from its route and indirectly as it will open more areas of the island to development, Panton has said the road is long overdue.

An environmental impact assessment has only just begun on the most controversial stretch of the EWA from Woodland Drive to Frank Sound Road, where the project poses the most significant environmental threats. In addition to concerns relating to the natural habitat, especially the mangroves, there is the possibility that the road will lead to major flooding for existing and future communities in the Bodden Town area.

Panton said that traffic congestion negatively impacts many people each weekday and he committed to building the extension, though he accepted that the solutions to Grand Cayman’s mounting traffic problems are not just to be found in more and more roads.

“Expanding the roads’ infrastructure is necessary and long overdue, and we are committed to completing the East West Arterial Road as soon as possible to improve the quality of life for thousands of Caymanians who live in the Eastern Districts,” said the premier, who is also the minister for sustainability and climate resiliency.

“As we have said before, we intend to take a holistic approach and a long-term view to traffic and ground transportation. Improving our roads infrastructure where strategically necessary, transforming our system of public transport, reducing the number of cars imported each month and encouraging new behaviours, such as car-pooling and increased use of busses, are all part of the bigger picture,” he said.

But so far, none of the non-road solutions have emerged and government remains focused on roadworks to relieve bottlenecks, especially at the Grand Harbour roundabout, which will not be alleviated by the EWA Road.

Work has now begun to expand the number of lanes on the Linford Pierson Highway from the Agnes Way roundabout to Bobby Thompson Way and Smith Road.

Infrastructure Minister Jay Ebanks said work was progressing well on the first phase of the East-West Arterial with ongoing work from Hirst Road to east of Woodland Drive. “Simultaneously, we are working through the environmental impact assessment process for phase two, which will inform the design and construction from Woodland Drive to Frank Sound Road,” he said.

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Category: development, Local News

Comments (92)

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  1. Kyle says:

    A complete misunderstanding of how expanding road networks will impact traffic. This is a short term solution to a long term problem. If you want to get rid of traffic then start tackling the problem – not drivers, not road space. The problem is cars. Start building a comprehensive public transport system – busses, ferries, even a tram or rapid transit. And when I say bus, I mean an actual bus.

    In the meanwhile, some better short term solutions would be to decrease speeds of travel – this actually helps traffic and will prevent collisions as well. You could do this with speed limits, but the better option would be to mandate speed regulators in vehicles sold on or imported to Cayman.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Close the road going East from South Sound and make 2 lanes all the way to Town. Make 2 lanes going through Walkers Road, closing just one lane going to South Sound. After 3pm change the direction with a red and green light. Simple

  3. nauticalone345 says:

    I agree that the EWA needs to be built! And the recommendations of the EIA need to be adhered to. I’m from NS and the commute has gone from 30 minutes to 120 minutes oftentimes.

    Some things though that causes one to wonder: Why are so many businesses all located mostly in GT? With government departments, authorities and other gov entities being some of the most glaring examples. DoA is in Lower Valley and works well there – kudos to them. But take the Airport Industrial Park area; with PWD, NRA, DVES, The Fuel Depot, MRCU, DEH, DoE, Water Authority. Add in the GAB HSA in central GT and we begin to see where so much of this congestion could be alleviated is some of these entities were moved out of central GT. For instance the government just recently spent millions to rebuild the facilities of the Fuel Depot and DVES – neither of which need to be where they are located. The property there could utilized by government entities that really have a need to be in central GT. Most of those mentioned DO NOT! Add government’s requirement that EVERY government vehicles (includes many heavy equipment and boats) to be fueled at the Depot. Yes including those stationed in the outer districts!

    I reiterate I agree with the Premier the EWA needs to be built! I also agree with him that much more needs to happen. Many have already proposed ideas worth serious consideration!

    What we have been doing thus far is NOT working!

  4. Anonymous says:

    1:45 Roads MUST go through!

  5. Anonymous says:

    This just a distraction to stop you all from noticing as they rip out the ironwood forest.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Buy the land around Hurley’s.
    Build a multistory car park at Hurley’s, and make it a transport hub with a fleet of large low-emissions buses. Park at Hurley’s and then ride to work or school.

    It would be great if there was also an after-school club/library/learning hub on site where students could study and use computers, supervised, after school, whilst awaiting their parents for the homeward journey by car. Even an indoor soft play Centre/trampoline park, cafe and fountains…I guess we’d have to await a benevolent billionaire)

    Civil service and as many desk-based workers encouraged to work at home as much as possible, and stagger the hours worked.

    • Anonymous says:

      If such a transport facility existed at Hurley’s I’d definitely just get groceries from there instead of other stores.

      I can see the win/win situation for them if they go this route.

    • N says:

      Which land around Hurley’s? Unless you mean the land with all the buildings already on it, including Hurley’s?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Until the roundabout is removed at Grand Harbour and the road made straight through with patrons required to use the other two nearby roundabouts for access, nothing will change.

  8. Anonymous says:

    If we didn’t subsidize a turtle meat factory, loosing airline, bad businesses, vacant government departments, and other vote-buying, there’d be plenty of money for a light rail system from West Bay to Bodden Town. Roll on, roll off with your bike.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Average commuter from the east spends 2-3hrs DAILY in traffic!
    Weigh the impact of that STRESS on families, emotions and loss of productivity … This remains one of the most overdue GOV projects and the impact and strain on society is beyond immense.
    Common sense at the least must prevail here.

    • Truth over fame says:

      Common sense should, but seems it never will. Remote work is the answer for Cayman, certainly was during Covid 19, but your foreign boss don’t want you locals living anywhere near as plush as they do in your own country haha.

    • Anonymous says:

      That is a choice you made in living in the eastern districts. You got a way lower house price for having to commute long hours. Add up your total commute hours, multiply your hourly wages and then compare this with your monthly house price or rent savings. If it doesn’t make sense, sell and move where your commute is acceptable. Pretty simple.

      • Anonymous says:

        Taking responsibility for oneself is a novel concept here where locals just screams for government to fix everything.

        Perhaps too much or bad governance is causing these problems.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yep. Let’s get everyone to move to one side of the island. Genius.

  10. Anonymous says:

    It’s okay, government has planted 70 trees to compensate for the destruction

  11. Anonymous says:

    Buy up Hurley’s parking lot and put up a parking garage at Grand Harbour. Then and only then will there be enough space to put in either an overpass or adequate dedicated lanes. They even screwed up the road expansion heading west by forcing the outside lane into the round about and dedicating it to S. Sound only. They could have kept the dedicated lane to S. Sound and let 3 lanes continue west. They basically canceled the entire effort down to 2 lanes again. Dumb.

    • Anonymous says:

      Best advice so far. Plenty of land at Grand Harbour for this. The country should not have to suffer so shoppers can park in front of Hurley’s.

    • Anonymous says:

      11:44 I think you are the Dumb one take a good look and you will see there are two options to go S. Sound
      And the outside lane is not into the round about.

  12. Auntie Aggie says:

    Wetlands smetlands. Get the roads built.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Build Ironwood.

  14. Cdn. says:

    Cayman is becoming a mini Toronto. We got highways 6 lanes wide in both directions. All that did was make more traffic. Need less cars, not more highway.

  15. anon says:

    Buy a house in George Town.

    • Anonymous says:

      Didn’t Wayne’s political platform based on saving the environment? Why is he so keen on cementing and paving the whole island in a hurry?

  16. Aanonymous says:

    Just do it already!
    And run a bypass link to the inland farm road to Hutland.

  17. Anonymous says:

    If I can order food for delivery and track its location in real time, how on earth can I not access the same live location info for public buses???? Surely that is an easy an inexpensive first step at creating a more reliable public transportation system.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Why are people deliberately forgetting that there is a process here??!! It’s called an EIA. Plays a crucial role in the road design, direction, construction (likings etc.) So please calm down people.

    Let’s all give up meat!!! THAT will really help with turning the tide in climate change.

  19. Anonymous says:

    To calm some of the hysteria occurring here, let’s be reminded that an EIA is a BROAD ENCOMPASSING process which takes in to account the environment.

    So the claim that this and that will “be at threat” as to imply that there will be cart blanched clearing is somewhat misleading.

    • Vote No says:

      An EIA tells you HOW you can build it, not IF you should, WHY you should or WHO profiteers.

      To be done properly, it costs money for consultants so what is the budget, is the scoping document really objective?

      The cruiseport had an EIA, public concerns all documented, and the environmental impact of that project was terrifying. Same arguments used.

      So yes, a lot of hysteria is warranted.

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually, an EIA does present the option of DO NOTHING.

        • Anonymous says:

          you are correct. the EIA does indeed have that option. see the EIA scoping opinion for the proposed road from Woodland Dr. to Frank Sound Rd.

          also peep some of the horrors that will likely stem from the road.

  20. U all foo-foo says:

    Call it real— hear ya sir HEATHER BODDEN?

  21. Anonymous says:

    The backup isn’t caused by the road but by the roundabout.

    The NRA should consider flyover lanes to increase the capacity of that roundabout.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Overpass in Red Bay/Grand Harbour won’t ever work. The only solution if we’re never putting limits on private vehicle ownership (which we won’t) is to build a bridge system in the North Sound, commencing at Hirst Road area, heading West towards the GT yacht club where a spoke/island could be built to enable those wanting to go into industrial park to turn off there, and then have another spoke to the North of Mt Trashmore and join up with the new ring road that is being built, culminating in the roundabout at the Health City /CIS School entrance that is being constructed

    This gets rid of all traffic as best as you ever will – those coming from East End/BT and heading to W Bay can use the bridge to C Bay; those wanting into town can choose bridge to GT Yacht Club OR ARterial/Grand Harbour route

    no other solution if we’re not halting car imports/limiting access/enforcing multi people tarnsits,, etc.

    • Anonymous says:

      That is a 3 mile bridge from Hirst to Industrial Park and another mile from Industrial Park to Camana Bay. It would need to be built high enough in places to allow sailboats to cross underneath (60+ feet). It needs to be built with pilings deep into mangrove peat and able to withstand category 5 hurricanes and major earthquakes. Not to mention the environmental destruction wreaked on the North Sound, a national treasure. Do you really believe that is the most viable solution?

      We haven’t even begun to look at public transportation and this is where our minds are going…

    • Anonymous says:

      or could just fill in part of the North Sound south of GT Yacht Club

    • Anonymous says:

      It would work but you’re living in a fantasy land If you think there is money or political will for a project that ambitious.

      • Anonymous says:

        Make all new development pay for infrastructure costs immediately. I joke because this is a major way of how the politicos and their CIG and Lodge cronies enrich themselves at the expense of the rest of us. I’m sure the new task force will get to the bottom of this…LOL

  23. Anonymous says:

    Wouldn’t it make sense for some of the Websters or Majestic buses that live on East End to run a shuttle into town for one trip each morning as they drive in to meet cruise traffic?

    I know it is not a full solution but each bus would contribute to removing about 15-20 cars from the morning rush wouldn’t it? And cheaper for people than the camana bay ferry.

    • Anonymous says:

      Just a question…for those who “dislike” this post, can you reply with your reason why? Just curious to hear the other side of the argument.

      • Anonymous says:

        In Cayman, employees enjoy abnormal flexibility to leave work during the work day for various appointments, personal errands, mail runs, nail appointments, and personal time outs. Sometimes just to sit in their parked car and listen to talk radio. Hard to give up these indulgences.

    • Anonymous says:

      1:56 Would you be the first to park your car.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Caymanians are not going to give up their vehicles for public transport (that will be the expats take public transport) – so that solution will not help.

    The only solution is a bridge/highway. The land will not be destroyed as much as building roads.

    • Anonymous says:

      1:49. Do an FOI for DVDL to provide you with the stats as to the ownership of vehicles; local vs. expatriate owners. I did several years ago. Expatriate population has more vehicles than locals.

      So, you unsubstantiated claim that “Caymanians won’t give up their vehicles” is somewhat mute.

      Silly really.

  25. Anonymous says:

    idiotic comments by our premier… but who is surprised?
    from the people who banned uber here and said building roads is not the answer…..yep, they are building more roads!
    welcome to wonderland.

  26. Anonymous says:

    When is the road through Selkirk getting done ? It has been like that for over a year now. It is about 100 ft of road. How hard is it ?

  27. J.A. Roy Bodden says:

    Anyone who thinks congestion on the roads will be permanently alleviated is sadly mistaken. The traffic congestion problem in these islands can only be solved by apply multiple solutions. As an example consider the following :

    1. Import restriction on vehicles over a certain age.

    2. Developing a medium to long term plan to implement a
    reliable public transport system.
    3. Encourage car pooling.
    4. Implement entrance and exit system on major new
    developments instead of the current practice where
    traffic is disgorged onto already congested roads.

    The whole Cayman Islands has been developed as “a
    frontier society ” predicated upon ad hoc planning
    motivated by greed and ‘get rich quickly’ schemes.

    Anyone with a modicum of common sense should also realize
    that our development model is doomed to failure as no
    modern society can survive based upon the economic model
    under which we are operating.

    Imagine the fallacy of our development policy when we
    continue to use the most arable land to plant concrete and
    steel rather than reserving such lands for food production.

    We have sewn the wind and not long from now we shall begin to reap the whirlwind.

    No society is not near self -sufficiency in food production
    can survive. Currently ,the Cayman Islands is one of the
    most expensive jurisdictions in the world in which to live.
    Our reliance on importation of basic foodstuffs means that
    we are importing inflation. Add to this the rising cost of
    fuel and one soon realizes that the economy is shuddering under centrifugal forces beyond our control.But then this is nothing new to those persons with an iota of sense.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well put Mr. Bodden. Many Caymanians have been seeing the writing on the walls for years, but the chaos of short-term thinking still prevails. Like all great civilisations built upon exploitation for short-term gains, the collapse is inevitable. We need to make big changes now or we will suffer dire consequences.

    • Anonymous says:

      Mr. Bodden do you know at the same time you are saying, no limit to newer vehicles!

  28. Anonymous says:

    Big boys want their land opened up it seems.

    • Anonymous says:

      And that bothers you?! Jealous? Or you think that land should remain closed until it is owned by others?

      • Anonymous says:

        It should be down zoned plain and simple. Agricultural zoning with one house per 5 acres. Increase density in the already developed areas such as George Town and Camana Bay. However, with the increased density comes windfall profits. Make the increased density contingent upon providing affordable housing for Caymanians through these new developments. There are obviously too many conflicts of interest between elected officials, CIG bureaucrats, wealthy foreign developers (CANADIANS) and Lodge cultists but at least let’s put all the cards on the table in a transparent forum and see where the chips fall. Otherwise, I fear the rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer until the poor rise up and take from the rich.

  29. Anonymous says:

    For those of us who care about the natural world of these islands and preserving endemic, endangered plants and animals there is never good news anymore for us here, ever. I can’t think of a sadder, sicker band-aid solution than cutting a road through Cayman’s last pristine forest. My heart breaks for these islands and what they once were.

  30. Anonymous says:

    It will Mr. Premier? It might. But considering there will be no cap on the number of vehicles imported annually you had better plan to build that highway multi-storey.
    The public transportation system is a hodgepodge mess, it always has been. What in blazes makes you think that without a complete overhaul and modernisation of it there will be increased use of it? You might as well put money into an LRT on the same route and offer incentives to for business to relocate East.
    Keep bringing in those carts by the thousands and in 5 years there will be nowhere for the soon come horses to pull them. Too little too late again but don’t worry the next bunch of clowns will reinvent the wheel and sort it out right?

    • Anonymous says:

      there is NO public transportation system in Grand Cayman. Bermuda does have public transportation system. Cayman NOT

  31. Anonymous says:

    This is not about traffic. It is about access to land for development. The flooding will be bad without a bridge or big culvert every 1000 feet.

  32. Anonymous says:

    In general this road may reduce traffic and congestion, but what is going to happen when all that traffic gets to the roundabout where it merges with Shamrock RD? Even though the bypass has the right of way, Shamrock traffic never lets them through and the whole thing goes slow like a turtle.

    Also what’s going to happen when it gets first to Hirsch road? that’s going to be a busy intersection and again a lot of brake lights.

    When will they bite the bullet and just put in a couple of overpasses?

    • Anonymous says:

      The overpass is the only solution.
      Best to bite the bullet as you say as it’s going to need to happen anyways so out the money to that.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Premier is NOT the Expert!
    😡🤬 🤯

  34. Anonymous says:

    These guys don’t get it.

    You can widen roads all you like but until a solution is found for the bottleneck at the Hurleys roundabout and a viable public transport system is implemented (i.e. reliable real buses on a real schedule), then there will be no material improvement in congestion.

    • Matt M. says:

      Exactly! Any one of the thousands who face this traffic hell daily can confirm that the Grand Harbour roundabout is an absolute failure at moving traffic along especially at the times of the days that everyone seems to be on the road at the same times.

      Issues such as parents transporting their kids to schools with no busses, no mandate to use busses in public schools, far too many commuters on the road to a workplace for computer based work that could be done at home, and a third world level public bus system seem to have no solutions nor anyone with the will to solve.

      The simplest solution is more remote working for those who can do so.

  35. Anonymous says:

    No it won’t.

  36. Anonymous says:

    How? Where is the evidence base?

  37. Anonymous says:

    Why don’t we work on public transport first? The Premier is Minister of Sustainability, he could get 2 gold stars for (#1) saving the trees and (#2) carbon emission reduction by getting cars off the roads.
    Even just working on getting all of the students on buses will make make a world of difference, watch next week when schools are out and morning traffic East of Spotts just evaporates

    • Anonymous says:

      ❌🛑⛔️ NO TO EWA!

    • Anonymous says:

      And yes to the students on buses as well please!

      • Anonymous says:

        Insanity though as the busses personally drop the students who do take them at their friggin doorstep. What happened to bus stops with kids? All public schools should do busses and only a few stops. These kids can walk a few feet to their stop.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Build the road

  39. Anonymous says:

    First finish the job between Agnes way and Bobby thompson way. Then see what happen to traffic flow for 6 to 8 months before starting building east to west arterial way. That bypass road won’t improve traffic problems between Bobby thompson to Grand Harbour.

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