Dart starts West Bay bypass

| 18/01/2012

esterlytibbts.1jpg.jpg(CNS): Although the final agreement between the government and the islands’ largest developer is not yet signed or approved, work on the Esterley Tibbetts Highway Extension to West Bay has begun. Dart said Wednesday that site clearing had started in anticipation of the full road works beginning in March. Only one element of the proposed ForCayman Alliance, this deal was agreed in December, as Dart said it was keen to start this part of the plan to give people work. The premier said the deal was the beginning of the fulfillment of his government’s promise of creating jobs and had the NRA deal not been signed early it would be several more months before any jobs were created.

Caymanian owned heavy equipment firm Shamrock Heights Equipment has been awarded the contract by Dart to coordinate all of the independent operators that will work firstly on the clearance and then the bypass itself.

Owner Kerry Lawrence said he would be giving work to as many struggling small Caymanian businesses as possible.  “We compiled a list of small Caymanian companies that are capable of doing the work,” he said. “In this bad economy it’s great to be able to spread the work out among as many companies as possible. I’m happy to have the opportunity to prove that small companies can come together and do the same thing that big companies do.”

Lawrence said it was just the beginning of the project but more equipment and people would be needed as the work increases.

Final approval on the ForCayman Alliance has not yet been given and though the West Bay Road closure is stillconditional on an independent review, Dart announced that in the “true spirit and intent of the ForCayman Investment Alliance,” it had agreed under the separate NRA agreement to move forward with preliminary works and engage local companies.

Last month the government and the developer signed the side deal with the country’s publicly owned roads authority but Dart will be financing and the managing the project. It is also understood that the developer has designed the road, despite the fact that it will be a public highway.

“The NRA agreement is signed which has resulted in jobs,” the premier said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon by Atwater Consulting. “The process for the Independent Review is underway and being led by a technical committee of senior civil servants that is chaired by Dr Dax Basdeo.”

McKeeva Bush revealed that other members include Max Jones from public works, Colford Scott, who is the chair of the NRA, and Jonathan Jackson from the works ministry.

“While it is a few jobs to start with, it is the beginning of fulfilling my government’s promise of creating jobs and work for local businesses through the signing of the NRA Agreement with Dart,” Bush said. “Having a company coordinating the hiring of independent operators ensures that everybody gets a break.”

The premier stated that had the work gone for tender only one company might have got the job but this way in the coming weeks and months, as the road work increases, so will the opportunities for jobs and work.

As the project is being financed by a private company there is no requirement for a public tender.

“Naysayers will say it is only work for a few people – but what they are doing today is necessary so that in two months, when the road works start in earnest; and in 12 months when the hotel construction starts, we can have between 350 and 400 new jobs created,” Bush stated.

“If we had waited and not signed the NRA Agreement in December, we would be more than a month and maybe as long as three months further away from seeing new jobs than we are today. This is a dire economic situation and while it may seem small to us, it is major to the people who are now working for the first time in months,” he added as he justified the start of the project before the review was completed.

Work began on Tuesday 10 January in four locations: site clearanceat Governor’s Way which is a continuation of the clearing done in December; site clearances at both the current terminus of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway/Foster Bay Village working north and the also at the location where Yacht Drive will intersect with the extension of the ETH, working south. They will meet in the middle and then the route for the first phase of the ETH Extension will be cleared of major shrubs and trees.

Clearance for the construction of a “haul road” on the route which the new ETH will follow soon. This will facilitate the trucking of fill when the construction of the extension begins in earnest. Dart officials said that with a positive outcome to the Independent Review, this part of the project will take between four to six weeks.

Subject to the findings of that review, Dart said, it was however already progressing with its discussions with potential hotel operators. Selecting the preferred hotel brand and operator is an essential step in the design process for the hotel because the eventual operator’s needs, brand prerequisites and input must be considered before finalising the design, it stated.

The new four or five star resort will be built on the site of the former Courtyard Marriott and, with the closure of the existing West bay Road, the hotel will be turned into a beach front property. Dart has also committed to enhancing the existing public beach near to the new resort and developing a new public beach area north of the new hotel. 

The closure of the road and the broader elements of the entire proposed ForCayman Alliance have not been welcomed by all quarters. Although four of the heavy equipment operators who have been given the work sang the praises of the agreement with Dart in the release, there is still considerable opposition to the proposals.

A group of activists in Bodden Town are also opposing the proposals in the alliance to relocate a new landfill to the district in exchange for Dart closing then capping and remediating the current dump in George Town.

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Comments (30)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Ok! I need to man up and starting calling in and showing some love in the mornings on rooster now. Ok! I really need a job.

  2. new race track? says:

    I read all the news and all the posts and I just do not understand why all the fuss –  it is an improvement,opens up alot of new land to all at the beach, and along the road that has never been accessible before. can we just get on with it… and get 'er done!!

    that said, I must ask Mr DART if we can please have some new CCTVs and Speed Cameras on the new road? coz there are going to be a lot of raass fools heading on to that new road and for the wrong reasons!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Most of the obstructionists to this work must already have jobs

    • Anonymous says:

      Whats the difference, we are selling out ot the Chinese and we have surely sold out to Dart and all the complaining isn't going to stop anything. 

    • Anonymous says:

      They don't need jobs! They are all set, they made it under previous administrations, so SELFISH, don't want anyone else to make it. What is most interesting, some of these obstructionists want to be our new Government. HOW FRIGHTENING!

  4. Anonny says:

    What I see happening… is…



  5. Anonymous says:

    hold on a second everyone…all thats actually happened here is that the group that owns the land has started working on their lands….i think thats legal !

    it looks to me like the Dart boys have simply said enough, we're going to build this road anyhow as it will open up access to our 00's of acres inland, maybe we';ll build a golf course there and we can get people to it faster and safer….and if for some reason they never get to re-route the road infront of the marriott/public beach, they'll still want that bypass completed anyhow as it will reduce traffic significantly in front of whatever they end up doing with the hotel resort site……

    either way, it makes sense….if all agreements are signed and ooposition subsides, they have a headstart on works….and if agreements change, they still are going to build the road because it will improve the congestion infront of their resort

    whats wrong with that?

    • Anony says:

      There is nothing wrong with that. Exactly. Now if they can & will do this to help themselves, why does the country need to give away property to create more valuable ocean front real estate for them?

  6. Anonymous says:

    350-400 jobs for how long, Mr. Bush?  What this country needs is sustainable growth, with real long-term job creation, not a couple of hundred jobs for a year or two and then  back to square one.  Here's one little idea you might consider, Mr. Premier:  Reduce the base rate of interest to make borrowing cheaper so buisnessmen and women can borrow to invest in the local economy, and repayments on people's mortages will be substancially reduced.  The current base rate in th UK is 0.5%!  Stop the handouts for mortgage arrears and make some basic economic decisions to stimulate the local economy.

    • Theo says:

      To the writer who speaks of lowering of rates by the Government, do you know of what you speak, clearly not.  If this or any other Goverment tries to impose or enforce changes to market rates, the term Banana Republic will pale in comparison to what will be said of us.  Free Market is what the Cayman Islands has thrived on for years, i.e long long before you were even born in the UK.  What we need is not tinkering with Market dynamics, for interest rates have various components, what we really need is for an understanding between local Banks and the  Government on what are the elemts of sustainable development in this country, bearing in mind our limited resources; and come up with a plan that will focus financing on specific areas at a interest rate cost and and a small margin above cost.  This will in essence allow "Caymannians" the neccesary funding to be involved in sustainable economic activities, which will allow individual and community growth due to the flow of cash throughout the system.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I feel sorry for the civil servants apointed to the 'independent' review committee. Clearly they are not expected to give an independent review. Their boss has chosen them to review a project that is underway and which he never stops praising. They might as well just take a couple of soundbites, e.g., 'we're too desperate not to allow this go forward', and call that the report.

    • Anonymous says:

      Amen! “The process for the Independent Review is underway and being led by a technical committee of senior civil servants that is chaired by Dr Dax Basdeo.” How is that an "independent" review when the members are civil servants and the Chairman is the Premier's Chief Officer? We've already seen how the UDP deals with Chief Officers they "cannot work with"…

  8. Anonymous says:

    Road goes straight to Osetra bay and Smatts boats to stingray and the other to Tiki beach. Well see who gets all the money with all the boats and tour buses registered under different companies. Keep being ignorant Cayman!!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Simple answer is the NRA is a Government entity. And this work is being privately funded. Stop looking for fault in everything…

  10. Anonymous says:

    Planning permission? Trade and Business licences? Pensions? Health Insurance?

  11. Bob The Builder says:

    Praise be to Jesus, glory be to God! Hallelujah!

  12. Gretchen Swaby says:

    YAY!!!!!!! …

    I can't wait to race on this road I had a dream a few weeks back, that I was racing on the new road me and my girls and boy oh boy it was awesomeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!! …

    I was even laughing in my sleep! 🙂


    • Anonymous says:

      Given the road deaths in this country from drunk driving and speeding both it sounds that apply to you. You might choose your words more carefully. You know there are families of young deceased Caymanians grieving over their lost sons due to road fatialities and you make jokes about it.

      Shame on you.

  13. Anonymous says:

    The gowerment allows work to start with a contract in place?  My goodness, how this country does business!  Shame on the gowerment and utter surprise and disbelief at Dart.

  14. Liberation says:

    You see the rules of the game was cleverly set never where we the people may sit and watch, but can't participate in the decision making of government. If ever you try to change the rules of the game and they see you are a shining star, an activist for the people, they simply will flatter you with money and priveleges. I see it happen many times to those who want to make a positive difference. These elite persons introduce themselves to the influential. They befriend them, they buy them whatever they want, even get them a house and spouse. It reminds me of the story when Satan shows to Jesus the entire world, because he claims to have it all, the gold, the wealth, the wonders, the pleasures of all kinds. There is no other way to call it, when you accept gifts. It is a bribe, but today, they just dont make bribe. They give and give and give… until the the recipient is so bewildered that their perceptions of the giver, shows a righteous, good, and decent man or woman. So fooled, the recipient actually believes God has brought them or person into his or her life. Then after much giving, you see the bribery. They say, "well look at all I did for you, you can not count… now can you do this one thing [or these few things] for me."  The activist or politician begins to then reason, who in their right minds would ever turn down such a righteous person's grant. I see it all the time. That is how shining stars lose their luster. First, they tried to change the rules for everybody's benefit, but they allowed certain few to shower them with praises and gifts. Now, they are serving them instead. I am not calling no names, but it is clear that sincere Caymanians in positions of trust are vunerable. I say, pray for activists and those who really and truly love the people of Caymanian and want to put their interest first beyond all measure.

    • Pray Away says:

      Keep praying Liberation. That’s what Mac wants you to spend your time doing. The more time you spend with your eyes pointed to the floor talking to yourself, the less time you have to meaningfully interfere with whatever you think is wrong here. But if you think Cayman is better off without major investors, post your reply that you’d rather swat mosquitoes on the beach all day.

  15. dartanian says:

    Never heard of Shamrock Heights is a new company formed simply to get this contract and what qualifies a new company to get this work. XXXX

    It has to be of concern that the Governments own road design team is not designing this road and why has the NRA not been contracted by Dart to design and build this new road. Certainly the NRA has done a credible job on designing, building and spreading the work around all the truckers and heavy equipment owners up to this junction.

    I will be going to the company registry to find the owners and other details on Shamrock heights tomorrow and will publish my findings on CNS for allto see.

    • Anonymous says:

      Becuse you have never heard of Shamrock Heights, does that mean they haven't been around for a long time?

      What qualifies you to say if this company can or cannot do the work?

      Would you rather continue the tradition of hiring foreign companies to do this work or share the work among small caymanian owned companies which are struggling in this bad economy as the bulletin above clearly states. 

      Again, you obviously never read the press release correctly because if you had, you would have seen that the name of one of the owners was stated. 

      Maybe you should get all of your facts straight before you comment because all of the press releases that i have read previously stated that it was a government and private initiative which means that NRA will be supervising the road construction. With any road costruction (subdivisions ect…) NRA has to be involved in order for the road to be approved.


      • Anonymous says:

        And what if they are new … a business opportunity which allows them to make sure the work goes to small, independent contractors not big companies. Sounds good to me.

    • Anonymous says:

      What qualifies YOU? 
      As it was said above in a reply to your initial comment, just because YOU haven't heard of them doesn't mean they aren't qualified. For all you know, they could have been doing superb work for the Cayman Islands for years.
      So please, before you decide to bash and slander Shamrock Heights, know what you are talking about because now you are making yourself look bad. 

      Also, by saying "Certainly the NRA has done a credible job on designing, building and spreading the work around all the truckers and heavy equipment owners up to this junction." are you assuming that Shamrock Heights can't do the same credible job? Just because you haven't heard of them? 
      If you actually take the time to read the article, you can cleary see that Mr. Lawrence says "We compiled a list of small Caymanian companies that are capable of doing the work" he is obviously a man that sees and understands that companies are hurting and not only that… he already stated that he WILL include other smaller businesses. So that clearly overrides your comment on the NRA spreading the work around, because Mr. Lawrence of Shamrock Heights is doing the same. 

      The NRA is obviously going to be involved at some point if not all, so please stop acting as if  someone has now come to push out the NRA out. Which can't and isn't be the case. 
      Open your brain and eyes before you open your mouth.

      So again, please know your facts and get them straight before you come here to share unknowledgeable news and opinions.

      Congratulations Mr. Lawrence, Shamrock Heights. I trust you will do an outstanding job.

    • Anonymous says:

      dartanian you know your stuff! i'd like to network with you touchjr12003@yahoo.com please contact me.

  16. anonymous says: