On Monday, June 26, 2017, the National Roads Authority (NRA) will officially open the new three-lane Camana Bay Town Centre Roundabout, a vehicular underpass and a pedestrian ramp on the new Esterley Tibbetts Highway (ETH). All three infrastructure projects are part of the Third Amendment to the NRA Agreement between Dart Real Estate and the Cayman Islands Government.
This latest project brings Dart Real Estate’s investment in infrastructure, which also includes the ETH extension to West Bay, to more than USD $100 million. Dart Real Estate President Jackie Doak says, “Infrastructure is more than an economic stimulant, it’s a growth strategy for the Cayman Islands as a place where people want to live, visit and invest. The road infrastructure in the Camana Bay area, the completion of the Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa, the near-completion of The Residences at Seafire and the planned five-star hotel on Seven Mile Beach are a testament to Ken Dart’s confidence in the Cayman Islands’ economy and the capacity for the core industries of financial services and tourism to expand.”
The vehicular underpass is the first of its kind to be built in the Cayman Islands and marks a historic occasion for infrastructure on Grand Cayman. Dart imported special equipment to facilitate the construction of the underpass, which runs a total of 450-feet in length. Engineers installed an advanced lighting system to allow drivers’ eyes to adjust to the darkness of the passageway, along with an industrial strength ventilation system to maximise air flow through the vehicular underpass.
In conjunction with world-class engineering used to build the vehicular underpass, Dart implemented innovative design for users to enjoy the journey. Muted tones on the route’s interior echo those of Camana Bay’s Town Centre and the architectural design is a nod to the “Camana Bay blossom” logo, first introduced 10 years ago.
The new Camana Bay Town Centre Roundabout also marks a first in development as the only operating three-lane traffic circle in the Cayman Islands. Several towering shade trees, like the scarlet-red Royal Poinciana and the Kapok tree, now enhance the landscape of the roundabout. The roundabout is the Cayman Islands largest to date with four functioning exits, which will increase to six in the near future.
An interim pedestrian ramp, which introduces an elevated crossing from Seven Mile Beach to Camana Bay over the road, completes the trinity of roadworks set to open Monday. The pedestrian ramp is accessible by walkers, strollers and bicycles.
Dart Real Estate President Jackie Doak says, “Exceptional infrastructure is a critical first step in effective place-making. Through thoughtful masterplanning, we can increase both the efficiency of the roadways and the walkability of Camana Bay, enhancing the experiences of people using the space whether they are driving, walking or cycling. We are privileged to have built the country’s first three-lane roundabout and vehicular underpass in conjunction with the NRA. This world-class infrastructure will accommodate the Cayman Islands’ growth and Camana Bay’s increasing sea-to-sound connectivity.”
To prepare drivers to use the new three-lane roundabout, the NRA has created a video that demonstrates how to properly manoeuver a three-lane roundabout. The video emphasises drivers need to know ahead of time where to exit, choose their lane accordingly, and always signal when exiting.
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!