Aggravated by constant roadworks

| 20/10/2016

I drive up/down West Bay Road four times a day from home to work and for at least nine months now, there has been roadworks of various degrees on the half mile stretch from the mini-roundabout opposite Blue Cilantro to the traffic lights next to the Rubis. I’m at a loss to explain why the same portions of the road are being dug up on a daily basis and who is actually doing the digging (presumably it’s one of the cable/fibre-optic companies). Also, what approvals do companies need to dig up the roads, do they have to give a timeframe and do they have to fix the road back to the same standard as it was previously? The reason I ask is the quality of the road surface has deteriorated since the roadworks and the markings on the road have not been adequately replaced (e.g. the red block on the road to warn of the pedestrian crossing). 

Auntie’s answer: Dealing with roadworks is one of those occurrences that I feel safe to say no one likes, especially if the same spot seems to be in a constant state of upheaval. To address your concerns, I took your questions to the National Roads Authority (NRA).

An NRA official very patiently answered everything I threw at him – and I ask a lot of follow-up questions. Let’s start with the approvals process. Permission is granted for roadwork after the utility company or sub-contractor complies with the NRA trench-application procedures. In addition, the applicant can excavate more than once within the 200ft approved permit limit.

Importantly, that approval is contingent on whoever is doing the trenching being responsible for restoring the affected area back to or better than its original condition.

This area of accountability falls within the road reserve covered in the application. For those who care to know, the road reserve includes the paved area as well as the shoulders. So for a standard subdivision road this would translate to a 30ft road reserve having 24ft in pavement (12ft lanes) with 3ft shoulders on either side, though that could very depending on the road in question.

The companies that do the digging also have to comply with a timeframe, as you asked. The NRA official explained that this timeframe may vary from project to project. “Normally it’s three months to a year from the date the permit has been approved,” he said, adding an explanation for the area you asked about: “In this case that area was excavated by more than one utility company and it will take longer to complete the total upgrades.”

One final point, the NRA does not take kindly to companies that are slow to reinstate the road after completing whatever trenching they were doing: “And if isn’t repaired in a timely matter, the applicant may have other future permits deferred until compliance is met.”

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Category: Ask Auntie

Comments (4)

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  1. A Nony Mouse says:

    “approval is contingent on whoever is doing the trenching being responsible for restoring the affected area back to or better than its original condition”

    Well, no one must be following up on enforcement of this aspect, as the area between Lawrence Boulevard and Burger King on WB Road is almost like a washboard! I’ve driven farm dirt roads in East End that are not as rough as this stretch in the heart of our tourist accommodation district! Obviously it has NOT been returned to “back to or better than original condition!” Someone is dropping the ball….

  2. Anonymous says:

    It needs to clearly be understood that Cayman is different from all other parts of the world. In Cayman, roads are smoothly and beautifully paved and only AFTER that is completed are our utility companies allowed to dig holes, trenches, etc in those roads. Filling is then done quickly and haphazardly so that it is guaranteed to quickly sink a few inches – which is then perpetually ignored.

    • Anonymous says:

      You forgot to include that the utilities take their turn to dig up the road after it is laid in order. Water works dig up first , they repair and then phone comes in and digs up water-works repaired road surface. Finally…underground power lines come & & they dig up both phone & water works. There is also now a new player- DART will come in and dig everybody up. Then you will see the road back to normal.

  3. Veritas says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with the complainant.As these internet providers are constantly delaying traffic the NRA should be charging them a significant daily fee for ripping up our public roads. This will I’m sure result in a significant reduction in traffic delays.