Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Navigating Qatar’s Roads – A Journey

On this blog I frequently discuss issues around traffic and construction. Qatar is growing by leaps and bounds so the infrastructure is struggling to keep up with the growth. That means lots of tearing up roads, upgrading roads, and building new roads. One problem with that is it can be difficult to keep up with what road is closed and what isn't.

So a little while ago I took a journey out to the Industrial Area to get something checked out with my car. Nothing major, just one of those things you ought to get fixed so when I had some spare time I figured why not let’s get out there and get it done.

Most people dread having to go to the Industrial Area given the crazy traffic and poorly maintained roads, but in my case the garage is located on the edge of the Industrial Area close to the main road so it’s actually pretty easy to get to. They even did a major upgrade to the road there, with flyovers, so the traffic should be even smoother.

So off I went to the Industrial Area, turned on to the overpass from Salwa road, went down to the Industrial Area, saw the garage on the corner . . .

. . . and proceeded to drive right past it. There was a flyover at the intersection where the garage was but the exit lane wasn’t finished so you couldn't turn off. So over the flyover I had to go.

Down about a kilometer was another flyover but this time the exit lane was finished so I exited there, saw a sign for the street were my garage was located, noting to go into the u-turn lane to get back to the area. So I did a went under the flyover, and drove a kilometer back to the other flyover. There was a lot of construction but at least I could exit the road to go under the flyover to the street the garage was on. Amidst the instruction I saw one of those signs that had a left arrow and a forward arrow, pointing towards various lanes. I wanted to go left so I went in the left one. . .

. . . which turned out to be a U-turn lane, forcing me to come back out onto the main road. *sigh

So I had to drive a kilometer to the other flyover, do a U-turn, and drive another kilometer to get back to the construction zone. This time at the sign I went forward instead of left . . .

. . . and kept driving straight. The road under the flyover was not finished yet so you couldn't turn left. *sigh

All the while this was happening I could see the garage. In fact at some point I was probably no more than 30m from it but I'm not sure if there is any way to get to it. Kind of like that scene in the movie Little Miss Sunshine, where they keep circling around on the freeways trying to get to a hotel but can't find the exit to get to it.

Thankfully I could pull off to the right and go to a nearby gas station. I needed gas anyway so I pulled in and tried to figure out what to do next. After getting gas I left the gas station and followed the road . . .

. . . out of the Industrial Area! The exit from the gas station did not get you back onto the road as it was under construction so it instead detoured you into the next neighborhood. *sigh*

So I would need to get back to Salwa Road, enter the Industrial Area, go to the second flyover, turn right at the flyover, and navigate 12 blocks of back roads to get to the garage.

So I went home. This Kafka-esque situation just wasn't worth the hassle. Maybe I'll go back in a couple weeks when, hopefully, everything is sorted out. Maybe I’ll call first and get directions.

Anyway, this is the kind of thing that you just have to roll with when you're in Qatar. Sometimes roads get torn up or closed and while the construction company sends out notices in the papers there's so much construction going on you quickly lose track of it all.


Anonymous said...

Happy to se that the Ministry of Tearing Up Roads remains busy!

Glen McKay said...

The Ministry of Tearing Up Roads is all-powerful! They are not to be denied.