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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Living in Baku: Road Construction

The last time I shared my adventures in driving here in Baku, I told about my run-in with road construction.  Somebody here had decided that all of the roads need granite curbs and repaving.  I'm not sure if somebody high up owns a paving company, or somebody else just got into the granite-curb business, but for whatever reason all of the roads are slowly being updated.  Not that I mind the newly-paved roads.  The bad ones really are quite bad - a pothole here, a ditch there, and pretty soon everyone is weaving all over the road trying to avoid them.

The only problem, of course, with putting new curbs in and repaving is the time it takes to get it done.  And while it's getting done on one side, everyone plays chicken on the other side that is temporarily converted to a two-lane road.  Which works okay until you get to stoplights.  But that is another post for another time.

I've been watching the construction on our road come closer and closer, knowing that one day it would be our turn.  That turn came at the beginning of June when my neighbor called me at 7:30 on a Monday morning.  "You might want to go and park your car in the other side of the neighborhood," she told me, "because they're about to start digging a trench outside the gate."

Our neighborhood has two sides with two gates that open on two different roads, and the other side was still safe.  Brandon moved the car and for a week or two the children enjoyed having empty roads to ride their bikes on.  I missed being able to park in my garage, but we managed.

After awhile we started noticing more cars back in front of houses.  I realized that they had simply driven through the construction zone, which consisted of a large, open ditch, and come into the neighborhood.

At the end of June I hosted the CLO coffee.  I had the CLO send out the following email with directions to the house:

For awhile the route home remained fairly straightforward, if rather unorthodox.  We bought an SUV so that we could get out of town, but I didn't anticipate taking advantage of the high clearance to drive up and down sidewalks to sidle around road construction.

One day when coming home from the grocery store, decided to take the green + blue route.  But when I turned onto the street by our neighborhood, I discovered the whole road blocked by an enormous crane, digging an even deeper trench down that road too.  So I backed up and took the purple route instead.

For awhile after that, every time Brandon or I left the neighborhood, there was a new and different obstacle waiting to cause more head-shaking and inconvenience.

One day, I rushed the children into the car to get to the pool for swim lessons, and then stopped dead outside the gate for ten minutes while a backhoe filled a dump truck with dirt.

The next day Brandon left in the morning only to find the whole road blocked by a large pile of dirt.  He went through the driveway and portico of a clinic to avoid it.

When coming home from a date one evening, we had to move quickly on to a nearby sidewalk in order to avoid a skid-steer loader practicing its drifting skills with loads of asphalt.

One afternoon, Brandon had to squeeze past a Mercedes that was squeezing past parked cars, all while driving with his tires hanging two inches over the edge of a six-foot ditch.  He swore that if he had moved six inches one way he would have scraped the paint off the car, and six inches the other way would have landed him in the ditch.

Another afternoon, Brandon found another ditch being dug on the tail-end of the first with dump trucks standing between him and home.  It took him fifteen more minutes of find an alternate way to our gate.

I decided to try and take a shortcut through a half-filled ditch another day and was very glad that Brandon wasn't in the car to watch me almost get stuck driving up the other side.  I really need to figure out how to turn the four wheel drive on.

As of last week, this is what the roads around our house looked like:

But thankfully, the ditch has finally been filled in and paved so I can drive on it.  Someone has even been kind enough to fill in the ditch that I almost got stuck in, too.  So now it's almost like there hasn't been any construction at all, if you ignore the gaping holes around newly-placed manholes and cars parked on what would normally be a road but is now evidently a parking lot.

Maybe they'll even get around to paving the road.  But the new granite curbs haven't shown up yet, so I'm not placing any bets.


UnkaDave said...

Girl, you need to know that 4x4 stuff. You need some mud on that ride.
Please tell me that Edwin is fascinated by the big machines. Get him out of the dress and start teaching him model numbers on the earthmovers!!

Kit Gana said...

How was the project now (road construction)? Was it done already?

asphalt sealcoating

Alphonse Daigle said...

“And while it's getting done on one side, everyone plays chicken on the other side that is temporarily converted to a two-lane road. “--- Well, this is the normal thing we do every time there’s road construction going on. And, aside from that, we also experience traffic, and we need to find alternate routes in order to avoid it. There are also some instances wherein these roads are closed to the public because it badly needs reconstruction, and for safety reasons as well. A little patience is what people really need in times like this.

Alphonse Daigle

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