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Road works everywhere but where are the workmen?

PUBLISHED: 20:32 10 December 2017

Picture: Archant

Picture: Archant

Archant

This week I wondered if I might talk about another facet of being British and that is having to put up with the terrible state of our road network.

I do a lot of driving, across Norfolk and Suffolk and sometimes even other places and I have had three punctured tyres in the space of three weeks.

Three.

Indeed, on Sunday, as I was crossing the Orwell Bridge – one of Suffolk’s best known landmarks - a rear tyre blew out at the very summit of the bridge causing me some concern.

I am not sure if you have noticed the same thing but three in three weeks seems excessive. I’ve noticed I’ve had more punctures in the last two years than in the previous 20 or so of driving.

I blame the fact that I drive more but I also lay the blame firmly at the state of our region’s potholed road.

They seem to be getting worse and worse.

In fact some of the country roads of Suffolk and Norfolk are often so awful you risk serious damage to your motor.

Over the summer Martin Tett, the Local Government Association’s transport spokesman, said: “Councils are repairing a pothole at a rate of one every 19 seconds, but funding pressures mean the resources they have to carry out these essential road repairs are coming from an ever-dwindling pot.”

There might be funding pressures – but in my experience of almost any form of local government there seems to be little value for money, over-stuffed tiers and numbers of management and an inability to get things done efficiently without huge numbers of meetings and discussions – but I am merely an observer so what do I know.

But every 19 seconds? Doesn’t seem possible, does it?

Every time I drive past any roadworks there is almost always no one there actually doing anything – least of all every 19 seconds?

These days the sheer number of cones everywhere rarely herald workmen but merely hint that something might be done at some point.

One wonders, in fact, if we will ever get on top of our nation’s roads. And we can’t simply blame the climate or the cold or the lack of money.

Switzerland and France – countries I visit regularly – don’t have ghastly roads, on the contrary theirs are cleaner, better kept and smoother – or does it just seem that way?

I wonder if public money is being spent on the wrong things. If I told you that, for example, Suffolk County Council spends £50 or so millions every month, I am sure you would wonder what on earth on.

Well, they do.

Anyway, in the meantime I’d like to know if I am alone in my observations. Have you had more punctures? Do you ever see any work being done behind lines of cones? Do drop me a line at james.marston@archant.co.uk

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