Saturday, May 14, 2005

Friday the 13th - Perth Style

I had a good day at work on Black Friday. Even managed to scoop a couple of orders and tied up a lot of loose ends. I did hear, just before leaving work, that the Freeway was a nightmare.

I'm used to the Freeway being a nightmare. Well, it's not too bad usually. My usual trip home after work takes forty minutes. Friday the 13th was a little bit different, as it turned out.

After 30 minutes I had almost reached the Freeway entrance which is shown in the picture below where the red line starts. This should normally take 15 minutes

How to get home from work.

Then I heard on the radio that the Freeway had been blocked by a burst water pipe. And here was me thinking that the little bit of heavy rain that we had had had caused some traffic disruption (did you like the usage of the word "had" in that sentence?). They were warning that travelling through the city wasn't a good idea, the Freeway heading south before reaching the city was a carpark and the Graham Farmer Freeway that runs East/West to the North of the city had one lane blocked because a car had broken down.

Driving through the city adds a good 10-15 minutes normally if I have to do it. I decided to turn around and drive right down to Fremantle and then come all the way back home. My normal 18km drive would be somewhere in the vicinity of 45-50 kms tonight but at least I would be home only about an hour late. After turning around I noticed a phone booth, and not having a mobile, gave Miky a call and said that I would be quite late. She didn't believe me when I said that the Freeway was closed as she had driven down it earlier. I was thinking that I would be home at 7:30 and I left work at 5:00. Once I hit the main road to get onto the highway to go to Fremantle it seemed that everyone else had that idea. Let me tell you, it is very disheartening to see pedestrians flying by you when you are stuck in three lanes of traffic.

At least there was a good game of footy on the radio. Geelong hammered Carlton by 70 points and I call that a good game. You normally complain that when you are driving you can't see the surroundings but that certainly wasn't the case on Friday night. You couldn't help but notice the surroundings - not much else was going on.

Once I hit Stirling Highway I realised the enormity of my task as the traffic was phenomenal. I have never seen so many people studying their UBDs whilst driving. Not generally a good practice to be using the street directory when at the wheel but we weren't exactly going anywhere in a hurry so that danger was somewhat limited. The timing of this huge traffic problem was excellent considering the high prices we are paying for fuel at the moment.

I'm sure that the incidence of carbon monoxide poisoning increased markedly on Friday night. And also tendonitis in the knee.

Back to Stirling Highway. I found a long way through the back streets as a short cut and although it was only a couple of kilometres I am absolutely positive that it save me 1-2 hours and only took five minutes to drive. The rest of Stirling Highway was a crawl and it was a luxury to be able to reach second gear occasionally. It reminded me of the time that I drove in Korea during the Thanksgiving time, Chuseok, and it took me 13 hours to drive 400 kilometres as everyone is returning to the place of their ancestors. Bit like driving into LA at night time, only much slower.

Once I reached Fremantle it took about 20 minutes to drive the 20 kilometres home - an absolute breeze. It took me four hours to get home!! Let me just add that the game of soccer I attended on Wednesday night started two and a half hours after work finished, took two hours to play, and I arrived home only one hour later than because of the pipe bursting next to the Freeway. And, it was much more fun to be standing in the rain and watching my team lose than the time spent driving home from work on Friday!!

Goodbye Dullsville. Things have certainly been happening in Perth since I wrote the posting.

And what of the Water Corporation? After all, it was their burst pipe that caused the damage and traffic chaos in the first place. Are they going to write a new Service Agreement?
"We promise to kill the traffic flow in Perth."
"Mud maps will become exactly that."
"Perth water will flow more freely than Perth traffic."

Sunday Times article

Early ABC report

Later ABC report

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