The Annual Spate of Roadworks at the End of each Financial Year

I wish to express how appalled I am by the current epidemic of roadworks that seems to have broken out like a rash all over our region, and doubtless the whole country. Every February and March we have the 'pleasure' of major roadworks on every route to or from any given destination.

As things stand, the co-ordination of these works (if any actually happens, which I seriously doubt) seems calculated to maximise the disruption to people's lives. If there are two routes from A to B, can one not at least avoid there being roadworks on both routes simultaneously? Or is that level of planning beyond our public 'servants'?

I cannot believe that this is another government-sponsored act of ecological terrorism in a misguided effort to 'shoehorn' everyone on to public transport (such as the soon-to-be-introduced parking tax), since buses and taxis are also caught up in it. If this government has a stated intention of promoting public transport, so far quite the opposite has happened, with all the chaos we have experienced recently on the rail network, the air industry and now the roads. Perhaps they just want us all to stay at home.

What I believe to be happening is the desperate and profligate spending of public funds before council budgets are set for the coming year, and any unspent sums are stripped from the department's budget once and for all. I must ask, though - is this really good stewardship of public money?

If these works were truly necessary, why were they not undertaken sooner? As it is, the concentration of roadworks we always experience at this time of the year must be losing local businesses and the economy generally untold quantities of both time and money, as well as mounting stress upon stress on every road user.

Is it not time for public finances to be reorganised so as to prevent this predictable yet infuriating farce from happening every year? If these departments (or at least the Department of Public Works) were permitted to keep the money allocated them regardless of whether it had been spent, and without affecting any future allocation, this chaos could be avoided, and roadworks might then be planned more thoughfully throughout the year, so as to minimise this seasonal madness and its impact on the travelling public, whom after all these repairs should be benefiting, not harming.

as published in the Nottingham Evening Post, 4th March 2002


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