Wednesday, 23 June 2010

When I am the Minister for Transport (part two)

As a musician, I do seem to do quite a lot of travelling - most of it by road…  (I drove over eight hundred miles in one weekend, last week…)  And one of the things which annoys me most about travelling in the car, is roadworks…

Now, roadworks are annoying - we all know that!  And, sometimes, we have to accept that they're also necessary…  But, I am not convinced that roadworks in such high quantities are really essential!

Yeah, sure, if the road's actually falling apart - if somebody's actually died because of the state of the road - by all means, then, do something about it!  But so many of the roadworks one meets, as one travels around the country, seem so trivial…

Or, indeed, inexplicable!  If you're travelling North, the chances are you'll happen upon the M1, at some point in your journey…  The last time I was driving North on the M1, great swathes of it were covered in roadworks, marked down to 50mph, and lines of frustrated, slow moving traffic are regulated by the modern equivalent of Cromwell's Puritan Commissioners - the Average Speed Check Cameras of Evil!

"M1 Improvements" boasts the sign…  Now, I don't know about you, but I was never under the impression that the M1 needed "improving"…  It always seemed fine as it was!

And, whatever these improvements are, which the powers-that-be seem to feel really need implementing, are they worth all the hassle?  Because, while the work is actually being done, far from being "improved", the M1 is actually a whole lot worse!

To give you an idea of the irony of some of these situations, I was just entering another roadworks zone, around Junction 16 of the M25, when I saw a sign saying this -

"M25 Carriageway Widening - caution, narrow lanes"

So, how's that widening working out for you, eh?  Made a good start?

Again, I realise that, in some cases, work simply has to be done, and drivers must just live with the disruption, until it's all over…  It just seems that some works will never end, and when they eventually do, some other road is being worked on…  When will the roads finally be finished?  Never!

I don't actually have a proper proposal about this…  If I were made Minister for Transport tomorrow (and there's a strong chance that will happen) I wouldn't have my policy on roadworks all set-out and ready to be implemented…

But what I do know is that I'd definitely try and cut down on the amount of roadworks, and the sheer size and scale of the projects, as much as possible…  Only when absolutely, really necessary, and there's no other alternative, would I allow works to begin…  Otherwise - forget it!  They're just too much of a nuisance - and, more often than not, more trouble than they're worth…

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