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Margaret Thatcher


M1 and Other Roadworks Without End

I travel several times a year up and down the M1 motorway (fortunately not every day like some!) and get very angry and stressed to see the slow progress on the roadworks between Leicester and Northampton. Nearly 20 miles of narrow lanes and speed restrictions, in BOTH directions at once! But most times I travel I only see 3-4 miles worth of ACTIVE work being done, which is less than 10%. Sometimes, granted mostly, but NOT entirely these days of NO action are at weekends or Bank Holidays, but this work has been going on now for ages, when will it end? The highways agency website say the latest completion date is December 2017, but that is just an estimate! The rubbish on their website, talking about benefits such as reduced congestion and improved journey times is laughable. The congestion caused by the two years plus of work (or lack of) will never be counteracted by any benefits once the so-called improvements are finiashed. And indeed the so-called "smart" motorways will only work if operators working the message panels actually update them. I reckon 50% of the warnings I see, with enforced speed resrictions, relate to expired incidents. How can imposing speed limits improve traffic flow? Removing speed limits when an incident is over - THAT will improve traffic flow!
But onto solutions to our appalling roadworks problems here in the UK. Firstly why not close much shorter sections of motorway, where work is actually taking place, rather than long stretches where little or nothing is happening? A legal limit perhaps of 5 miles. And on all roads and motorways only one way at a time, to avoid drivers being hammered both ways. And what about a moratorium of say two years after each major disruption, to give drivers the chance to drive unrestricted and benefit from the so-called improvements?
And motorways are just one example of our dreadful roads. In my local town near Nottingham the potholes are a disgrace as the Labour council prioritise other areas, and waste money time and again on useless pet projects. And with constant roadworks as utility companies come along one after the other to excavate the same stretches of roads, the patchwork pattern left behind and potholes thrown in for good measure has angered local people no end, but their protests are ignored - no surprise there then from Labour!
Surely it must be possible to repair our roads properly when needed, with minimal delays, and to control so-called improvements in a similar manner? Why do we always seem to maximise delays when minimising them would be much more welcomed by drivers and as a bonus speed up traffic flow and therefore reduce pollution?