the Spintex Chronicles

Had a meeting earlier this week in Osu, Normally I give my self an early start when I’m going to use the spintex road, but because it wasnt an “Accra Mall” saturday, and it was just about 1pm, I figured the traffic wouldn’t be as much as it normally is during the morning rush hour or in the late afternoons, i hadn’t used spintex at that time of the day for a while but I knew from previous experience that typically around lunchtime traffic had never been too bad, might have been slow but at least it would move at a steady pace.
So, I allocated a full hour as a head start. The meeting was at 3, I figured, worst case scenario, I’d spend an hour in spintex traffic and then 30 mins thru the 37-osu area. So by leaving at 1:15pm I figured by 2:45 latest I’d be at my destination. Wrong!

I don’t know what I was expecting, but I sure wasn’t prepared for what I experienced that afternoon. The flow was steady after a certain point around the zenith bank area. [we’ll talk about this spot in a minute] after that zenith bank spot, up to the CCTC – JONSON area it was cool and then 200 metres later, movement ground to a complete halt. we were at complete, utter, absolute standstill. There were points where for more than five minutes we’d be in one spot with absolutely no movement. I couldn’t believe it. It was hot, annoying, stagnant traffic. I wanted to turn around, but at that point you dunno which way to go, Nungua is not any better and besides there was traffic from a certain point in the other direction… because of the same zenith bank spot. Lemme explain this spot. It is a rough, extremely uneven patch across the whole road that is filled with deep holes. So everyone is compelled to slow down once they reach that spot. Whether you’re coming from the texpo area, or heading towards the texpo area you’ll be caught by that horrendous spot.

So traffic was building up at that spot and it didn’t make sense to turn around, it didn’t make sense to continue either! Here I was, in a BMW with a 2.0litre engine, and there were snails going faster than I was! 45 minutes later, I had only reached papaye. I wanted to strangle somebody. And then it got worse. It would seem that there are people who consider themselves more important than those of us suffering in traffic. They would come whizzing by in the middle of the road with their hazard lights on. These weren’t dignitaries, ambulances… or even hearses. No, they were ordinary civilians like you and I who had decided that they were far too important to abide by road regulations. About 13 cars sped past us in this manner, driving in the other lane and forcing the cars in the other lane to swerve rudely. I felt like blocking the road and asking them where they were going. To whom it may concern: if you want to arrest some unlawful motorists, the spintex road, in the afternoon, during heavy traffic – best time. An hour later when I reached the eastlegon underground tunnel turning, it became apparent, that the whole of Accra was trying to divert thru the tunnel, hence the standstill, and this standstill was causing effects as far back as Papaye! Why were they trying to divert? Because, they didn’t want to go thru Accra mall traffic. So I went straight, towards the mall, I figured since everyone wanted to use the east legon tunnel, there wouldn’t be as much congestion that way. I would be better off. Wrong!

I went as far as the Action church, and then I was back to standstill traffic. By now it was 2:43….and my fuel was now below the quarter tank mark. I was going crazy. The cause of the traffic now? People were coming out of the mall, that was mildly tolerable. It was the idiots making u-turns at the bus stop who were making matters worse. They were coming from accra to the mall, and instead of going straight and using the entrance towards the motorway, they would come in thru spintex, turn at the bus stop and join our lane so they could use the spintex entrance! What! my language beyond this point is too colourful to continue this narration!

We got rid of africa’s largest roundabout – the tetteh quarshie roundabout, to build an interchange. Why did we do this? Because we hoped among other things, it would ease the traffic congestion on the spintex road. We go thru all that trouble only to stick a mall at the most critical part of it and cause even worse traffic than before? seriously? And for goodness sake, why does everybody have to go to the mall everyday all at once? It doesn’t matter what time you pass by the mall there are always cars driving out of it. Where were we eating/shopping/hanging out before the mall arrived? On Saturday, spintex is a no go area, it’s a “mall traffic day” Let’s not make everyday a mall traffic day! If we had a consistent traffic control system with the police at different points of the road, like they do in the mornings and evenings, it would at least bring some sense of order to the situation. Why cant we do that? Extend the current rush hour traffic watch system to cover afternoons as well, with personnel at different points, directing traffic, and bringing a sense of order to the chaos. The mall can pay for this service! Little things can go a long way to ease the horrid spintex situation, like permanently fixing the spot near zenith bank once and for all, so it doesn’t keep getting worse once it rains… or fixing the other alternative “bush” routes that lead from the spintex area to as far as Labadi!

Oh in case you’re wondering I was 45minutes late for that meeting. So much for an early start.

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