Out of the frying pan

Once again, Eskom is to blame.

Newlands got load-shod mid-afternoon and the traffic lights on the M3 never really recovered. It was all a bit of a mess and I joined the queue by the Aquarium.
At this point, anyone that knows Cape Town thinks I’m lying. I wish I was. But no, my journey home from work is 15km and I queued solidly for 14½ of them. It took about 2 hours.

And it’s only going to get worse. But not for me. The city is upgrading Hospital Bend – perhaps the largest interchange on the outskirts of Cape Town – where the N2 meets the M3 and traffic mingles across 10 lanes near some zebras, on the bend next to the hospital –  an old, famous and listed building.
It all sounds quite romantic, but you’d be amazed how many of the cars coming from the right want to go left and vice versa. Weaving happens and then chaos regularly ensues (at least twice each weekday).
Fortunately, it looks like someone from the council has finally noticed this and they’re going to sort it out.

It is a condition of the contract that at least two lanes of traffic must be maintained in each direction for the duration of the project. This will lessen the disruption of traffic flow and consequent inconvenience to motorists.

Two lanes each way, huh? Down from five each way now. Yeah, right. That’ll lessen the disruption nicely.
Never mind – it’ll only take a couple of years. And then we’ll have this for the zebras to look at:

Click for largeness
All new Hospital Bend. Complicated is the new sexy.

All very pretty. But since my work is moving out of the city centre and a little way north, I won’t have to contend with Hospital Bend on a daily basis anymore. I was rubbing my hands together in glee and laughing in the way that only truly lovely people can, when I was told that while the City were taking Hospital Bend to bits, the Province would be upgrading Koeberg Interchange.

Bugger.

Because if you thought that Hospital Bend was a bit of a design error, then you’ll love Koeberg Interchange:


Koeberg. Indescribable without swearing.

Koeberg Interchange was designed by Willie van der Plooy – a nasty, bitter individual with a hell of a temper, a drink problem and complex psychological issues including a vendetta against all forms of road transport after he failed his driving test six times in a single month. Legend has it that he hid himself away and studied long and hard to become a civil engineer, then got his own back on an unsuspecting Cape Town driving public one evening by downing 6 bottles of Klippies, popping a couple of tabs of LSD and coming up with a new design for the crossroads of the N1 and the M5.
Some say he invoked Beelzebub through ritual worship and got him to fart on the plans, such is the barbed, twisted, evil nature of the junction. These days, tourists and locals alike flock from miles around to sit in massive queues and gaze miserably upon the fetid industrial heartland of Cape Town awaiting their turn on the aging concrete spirals.
And van der Plooy is no more, assassinated by terrorist group The Provisional AA in England for coming up with the concept of the M25 in retaliation for being charged an extortionate taxi fare on a trip to London in 1958.

So it’s out of the frying pan and into the fire for me. Stick a few decent CDs in the multichanger, bang up the aircon, sit back and crawl to work up the M5 instead of up the M3.

Love it.

  • El Rasha

    Yeah.

    That’s funny right there.

  • Damn that evil genius!
    Just remember, don’t leave gaps and let the little queue hoppers in.

    You know the best part? It’s only going to get worse at the interchange, since they’re going to start work on that too sometime in the future.

    Bright side: You’ll get to know all your CDs really really well and be a karaoke sensation 😉

  • Pahahahahaha. But trust me, I wouldn’t be laughing if I still lived there. Although up here in Jhb, we deal with it all regularly … and if we’re lucky, our double-decker M1 highway doesn’t flood in the rush hour thinderstorms !! See yesterday’s news article on iafrica here.

  • Bobjob

    Ha ha – your Willie van der Plooy story is excellent.

    Did Koosh actually read your post? 🙂

  • I read all his posts, sometimes though, the air in my head takes over and doesn’t let the pea sized brain process everything and I make wonderful stuff ups.

    Bollocks is the only word a person can say at this point.

  • I have become really inventive about avoiding the Koeberg Interchange, which is a nightmare all hours of the day!

  • El Rasha – Thanks

    Koosh – I think I mentioned those roadworks in the post. I commented. “Bugger”, I said.

    Phillygirl – I saw that. And then fires from lightning strikes. Electricity really is a bummer at the moment, hey?

    Bobjob – Koosh pops her head around the door and skim reads stuff. She’s a busy girl. She has unicorns to amuse.

    Koosh – Yeah well – I hope you learned your lesson.

    Hanlie – It’s a great plan, but I can’t afford a helicopter like you can.

  • I heard it was Satan himself who assisted on the project, although he may have just been trying to take credit for Beelzebub’s hard work. The rumour is he cribbed an American design for the interchange, but “neglected” to take into account that we drive on the left hand side of the road. Simply Diabolical.

  • Kyknoord – That would actually make a lot of sense.

  • Pete

    No mention of the taxis either 6000 – you’re a saint , so you are.

  • David Wood

    Hospital Bend:So what do you propose ?

  • @David Wood: Are you one of the engineers? I knew you’d come knocking eventually.

    No. Seriously, I love the new HB design. It’s everything that HB needs.
    I notice that there are ominous signs of work beginning on Koeberg Interchange this week. That’s Province, rather than City, so it will be a lot less easy to access plans and stuff, I would imagine. I have no clue how I would even begin to sort that mess out. It truly is a cock up of note.
    Edit: Here’s the best I can find at the mo: http://www.capetalk.co.za/koeberg.asp

  • David Wood

    Then may I dare to say that South Africa will be better served by your web site focusing on the positive.I challenge anyone in the world to revamp Hospital Bend without causing some disruption.To date,my observation is that it has been superbly managed.
    If you have concerns regardng the design,maybe you need to engage them and offer your assistance.It sounds as if you have quite a bit to contribute to the design.

  • Take the train.

    Trumpi’s last blog post was: Our daily link (2008-03-13) (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  • @David Wood: And may I dare to say that you would be better served actually reading the rest of the web site before focusing on the negative? You are, however, the first person that has ever had a pop at me for being “negative” about SA – most of your compatriots prefer to see me as some Walter Mitty type who sees SA as some sort of Utopia.
    Your viewpoint of 6000 miles… focusing on the negative side of SA is refreshing if somewhat misplaced.

    @Trumpi: It could be the perfect plan. Except that I would have to take 4 each way!

  • Abby

    I believe you about the zebras, seen them with my own eyes!!! 🙂

  • Pingback: Out of the Frying Pan (2) | 6000 miles from civilisation...()

  • Pingback: Koeberg Interchange/N1 closures | 6000 miles from civilisation...()

  • you should let pb [council road builder] sort it out. at least then it might be ready for the next world cup in 2030

  • John Booth > Koeberg Interchange was never a 2010 project, you muppet.
    Hospital Bend is finished and awesome. Not a bad word to say about the works or the finished article.

  • kenny

    The new direction signs on the M3 just after you pass UCT headed towards the bend are absolutely hilarious… looks almost like to get to the airport its 5 U-turns, 2 spirals and a hand-brake turn…

  • kenny > Yes – passed that this afternoon. It’s entertaining, isn’t it?
    Wait til you see what the signage looks like for Koeberg Interchange!

  • not all of capetown is bad 🙂

  • chantelle > Of course not. But the Koeberg Interchange is a Crapshow of note.

  • john booth

    get up earlier and avoid all of your woes.!!!!

  • john booth > Apart from the lack of sleep woe, I presume?

  • Pingback: This weekend | 6000 miles from civilisation...()

  • Pingback: BMW driver proud to be last Koeberg lane cutter | 6000 miles from civilisation...()