Who says infrastructure can’t be both beautiful and functional? Here are 10 fun facts we bet you didn’t know about the new Camana Bay Roundabout, vehicular underpass and pedestrian ramp on the Esterley Tibbetts Highway (ETH):
1. The Camana Bay Roundabout includes some large show-stopping trees, like the gigantic Ficus Aurea – which can climb to an amazing 100 feet high! – the Bismarckia Palm that distinctively lined the original ETH when it opened, the fiery red Royal Poinciana, the ornamental Royal Palm and the majestic Kapok tree.
2. The lighting in the vehicular underpass is precisely-placed and its brightness attuned to allow motorists’ eyes to adapt from bright natural daylight to the otherwise dark passageway.
3. The former ETH is now known as Emeritus Drive, a nod to the retirement of the beloved bypass that opened over a decade ago. Emeritus Drive is now a low-speed local road through Camana Bay, directly passing the Cayman Mac Store and Books & Books.
4. The vehicular underpass is as much about moving people as it is about moving cars. For one of the first times in the Cayman Islands, pedestrians and cyclists are separated from traffic, with safe and efficient alternative routes both north/south and east/west.
5. A special crane had to be shipped in to Grand Cayman to move the 44-ton beams that support the pedestrian ramp. Once in place, the beams – which resemble giant bathtubs – were each filled with 2,600 cubic yards of concrete.
6. The abstract painting on the interior walls of the vehicular underpass mimic the Camana Bay blossom icon and the colours – purple, blue, green and yellow – represent those found throughout the Town Centre.
7. The top of the pedestrian ramp is 32 feet above sea level. Both Seven Mile Beach and the North Sound can be viewed from here, a bellwether of future sea-to-sound connectivity.
8. Sixteen industrial strength ventilation fans were installed in the vehicular underpass to circulate air flow and drive exhaust emissions out.
9. The pedestrian ramp design does not incorporate the use of stairs and is fully accessible by walkers, runners, strollers, bicycles and the physically disabled.
10. The vehicular underpass is 450 feet long in total, or about the length of four Cayman Airways’ Boeing 737 jets!