Saturday, 6 November 2010

Road Re-Surfacing Causes Tiredness

 While I was in the UK the Tangalle council decided to resurface Mediketiya Road - the road which runs from the town centre to the beach in front of my house, and Deepankara Road - the side road which joins it beside my house.  When I came back I found the roads had mud spread all over them and a big machine was being used to roll the dirt and vibrate it flat.  It all seemed pretty pointless because as soon as it dried it turned to dust and blew about the place, so they had to come back to damp it down and vibrate it again.

During two recent nights at about 1a.m. there was a raucous noise outside with droning horns, drumming and chanting. Apparently it was the Buddhist monks blessing the roads. Our two dogs didn't like it a lot and started howling in sympathy with all the other dogs up the street.

We have a wall right against Deepankara Road and the council was threatening to knock it down so that the road could be widened sufficiently to be called "two lane".  I'm surprised the wall didn't just come down on its own - the whole house was being shaken so much by the big vibrating roller. Anyway, it somehow stayed up, and they ran out of time to demolish it before today's 6th November deadline.

At nine o'clock yesterday night the trucks and heavy machinery started arriving. I thought they'd just park up for the night but no, that's when the real work started. The sound of machinery outside my house went on until 3a.m. and the shouting carried on until 5a.m. as the tarmac-ing continued up the road. And then the dogs started up again. This all comes on top of the jet-lag so, needless to say, I'm feeling shattered today!

I hadn't realised that the deadline was a true deadline and not the usual unrealistic product of fantasy. The roads HAD to be completed by today because His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa was in town to open them! I'd been aware of the flags and increased security around the streets but I'd thought it was because he was opening the new court buildings in the town - I hadn't made the connection with the roads.

Well, the roads were tarmac'd and opened on time, and they do look good, as all newly-surfaced un-muddied roads do. I just wonder about the necessity for the work at all - the roads were in a reasonable state already and the various bits of road furniture (telegraph and electricity poles mostly) didn't cause too much of a nuisance. Although the poles have now been moved back (hence all the power cuts we've been having recently), the space available is really no wider than before, and the poles did give some protection for the many pedestrians, cows, dogs and cats!  Maybe the new tarmac stretches a little wider but there's nowhere for people to walk apart from in the road; they can't honestly be called two-lane which is what the council is boasting.

I missed the opening ceremonies and the unveiling of the obligatory monuments but I did manage to take a few photos a couple of hours after the hubbub finished:

Flags in Tangalle centre

Heightened security

Mediketiya Road

Inevitable Monuments

Deepankara Rd


Deepankara Rd
(my house on left)

Not the busiest of roads!

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