Friday, September 15, 2006

Roads. Hell.

Ach. We've had several months of respite from the perpetually clogged Sheikh Zayed Road, to the extent that recently we have not only considered heading into Dubai for an evening's entertainment, we have actually done it a few times. But yesterday we had a horrible horrible drive.

We were supposed to be meeting some folks in Jumeirah, at the big Mosque end of Jumeirah Beach Road, at 6.30 pm. Like idiots, we left Jebel Ali Gardens at 6pm. SZR was solid at Ibn Battuta Mall, tailing back I don't know how far towards Abu Dhabi. We declined to join the SZR, instead opting to remain on the parallel service road. This 'road' has no lighting and only one lane in each direction. Of course, we were overtaken by staggering amounts of hugely selfish bastards who were willing to risk a head-on collision with anything coming from the opposite direction. Grr.

After 45 minutes we were on the bridge over SZR (the remnants of Junction 5), and looking over the parapet we could see the traffic moving freely. So that entire jam was caused not by an accident but simply because the road is reduced to 3 + 1 lanes where they are building a new bridge. I really cannot understand why this should cause such a huge tailback, but maybe someone can enlighten me.

Anyhoo, we got onto Al Sufouh Road and were whizzing along quite nicely. Rather too nicely, in fact - I was flashed by a speed camera.

Then we arrived at the Umm Suqeim end of Jumeirah Beach Road. I was tempted to get on the SZR for a bit at this point, but foolishly decided against it. After all, the JBR 'beautification' project is finished now, it's 3-lanes in each direction, and really it shouldn't have taken more than 15 minutes to get to the other end.

How wrong I was. Some cities around the world have their traffic lights interconnected so that if you go through a green light and proceed at or near the speed limit, every signal you come to after that will be green. Regrettably, despite the millions that were spent on JBR and the installation of dozens of traffic lights, the signals are not linked, and we faced what seemed like a red wave for most of the time. (I'm told that all of Dubai's signals will be 'green-waved' next year).

Anyhoo, it took at least 45 minutes for us to get from one end of the road to the other, and the traffic was pretty light. I arrived at our destination wanting to do nothing more than turn right round and go home to bed. I certainly wasn't fit for an evening of scintillating intellectual and witty chat. But everyone else was, so that was cool.