Leeward Highway is the primary highway on the island of Providenciales and the largest in the Turks and Caicos. This highway spans from the Long Bay region to Downtown, with a total length of about 5.5 miles (8.9 km). The entirety of Leeward Highway is a highway, with two travel lanes in both directions.
Many of the island’s larger non-tourism stores and businesses are found on Leeward Highway, including Graceway IGA supermarket, Building Materials Do It Center, and Business Solutions, as well as the National Hospital, the Fortis diesel-electric power plant, and other utilities.
Safety and Vehicle Collisions
As Leeward Highway is the busiest road system in the Turks and Caicos, most of the vehicle collisions in the country occur here. Poor driving by jitneys and taxis, and the misuse, small size of, and lack of roundabouts are significant causes of road accidents. Efforts have been made to educate drivers, yet reckless and dangerous driving remains an issue.
Another issue that increases the risk of collisions, and also damages the road, is the generally poor condition of vehicles. It’s a fairly common sight to see boat trailers that had a catastrophic failure and consequent road damage, vehicles traveling with completely disintegrated tires as they attempt to limp to a garage, and leaking vehicles that deposit petroleum products that dissolve bitumen.
Leeward Highway isn’t extensive and roundabouts are common along the western half of the highway, yet it’s far too common for drivers to misuse turning lanes, sometimes even traveling in the wrong direction for a distance so as to avoid 20 seconds of driving to navigate a roundabout.
Extra roundabouts are critically needed at a few spots on the western half of Leeward Highway, and at several locations on the stretch between the Beaches Resort roundabout and Grace Bay.
Leeward Highway was the first main artery road on Providenciales and one of the first to be paved. Starting in the mid-1990s, the single-lane highway began to fall into disrepair and became extremely treacherous to drive on by the start of the new millennium.
In 2004, the Government issued $8 million worth of bonds to cover the resurfacing cost of the highway (including a few other roads and the Downtown ballpark). Interest on the bonds was 1% above the three-month London Interbank Offered Rate. It was at this time that the road was widened to a dual-lane carriageway, and the concrete medial curbs, lighting, and slightly more comprehensive signage were also constructed.
As of 2020, Leeward Highway continues to decline, as only limited asphalt patching takes place when potholes appear in travel lanes. Due to poor driving by jitneys and heavy trucks, which constantly pull on and off the edge of the road, the shoulder of the road is damaged and decayed at many spots.