By James Whittaker, Cayman Compass
Dart Real Estate confirmed Thursday it had been granted planning permission for an underpass along West Bay Road.
The developer plans to get to work immediately on preliminary work associated with the infrastructure project, part of an ambitious plan to create “sea-to-sound” connectivity between Camana Bay and Seven Mile Beach.
The work will essentially transform a stretch of West Bay Road, close to Royal Palms, into a tunnel. A first underpass for the re-routed Esterley Tibbetts Highway has already been built and will come into use when the expanded four-lane highway opens later this year.
The work underpins Dart’s plan to expand Camana Bay with new retail, restaurant and office space planned along an avenue that bridges both highways over a large ground-level parking lot. The land between the two underpasses will be raised to create an artificial hill rising to a peak of around 36 feet, roughly the height of a three-story building.
In a letter to the planning authority supporting the application, Dart wrote: “This underpass is essential infrastructure to create future sea-to-sound connectivity in Camana Bay that is core to the principle and development intent of a pedestrian-friendly town with a lively street level at every turn.
“This application represents an important phase in the master planning at Camana Bay to facilitate expansion towards Seven Mile Beach. It includes ramps which will facilitate safe access from the Camana Bay Town Centre on a pedestrian overpass, allowing vehicular traffic to flow unimpeded.”
Dart says it is still in the process of master planning how it will use the land between the two highways. The elevated section will start west of the Cayman Mac Store.
Permission for the work was granted on condition that Dart ensures unimpeded access along West Bay Road during construction through a temporary pedestrian path.