The Asphalt Curse


I believe the Chinese used to curse people by saying ” May you live in interesting times…”. If I were inclined to a savage malevolence I might be tempted to wish pestilence or poverty upon an enemy – but since January of this year I have changed my mind.

Oh I don’t mean that I am going to be kind and calm – anything but – I just mean I have found a better curse. Brace yourselves…

” May the Main Roads Department decide to upgrade your street. ”

This diabolical thought is also known as ” sending in the paviours “. It condemns the victim to three solid months of dust, noise, smell, and constantly changing detours. The last named is the worst – while we can generally cope pretty well out on the open highway with roadworks and the occasional forced sightseeing tour around the paddocks as they replace a bridge or something, we become raving maniacs when we are debarred from reaching our own homes.

I returned at noon this week to yet another mobile maze in our suburb. A series of yellow detour signs placed on the road leading from the local shopping centre to our street- normally a distance of a kilometre – resulted in three kilometres extra before the house could be reached. On two occasions demanding a wrong-way passage down a street marked ” For Local Traffic Only “. A nightmare.

The street being resurfaced? A 2.5 kilometre stretch of two-lane. The time taken so far? Three months. The material? Gold dust? Green velvet? Polished mahogany? Nope. Asphalt.

I can only wish a similar upgrade to the streets surrounding the residence of the state Minister For Transport. After all good roads are vital to politicians. The Minister deserves the very best. A long, slow, very best.



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