Friday, 11 May 2012

Road to nowhere...

On the 13th April, I was driving to Cardiff down the M4 for the weekend. Between junctions 12 and 13 were around 4 miles of roadworks with a 50mph limit and a contraflow, that I passed at about 2:45 in the afternoon.

While driving past, i counted how many people were engaged with performing the said roadworks, and a separate count on the number of people not actually doing anything. Here are the figures:

No of people sat in vans or trucks reading newspapers or otherwise amusing themselves but not doing any roadworks - 14

No of people actually doing something - 0

The first thing to note here is that in around 4 miles of roadworks, on a regular Friday afternoon, the Highways Agency/contractor thinks 14 people is sufficient.  Are they really that unconcerned with the delays they're causing to thousands of people?

More pressing, though, is if they're only going to deploy 14 people, is it too much to expect them to actually be doing something?

Of course, I couldn't let it lie, so I called the HA and made a complaint. They told me they'd get back to me in a couple of days, and once I'd explained the circumstances, 'Aaron' then went off to investigate.

He didn't come back to me when promised, so I chased them up.

This is what he came back with. You can tell from the management speak he uses, he's not really taken any time to read my complaint, as he makes the assertion that others might have been busy working, or that it might have been break time. Clutching at straws? 

So I called Aaron back, and asked him if he had read my original complaint. We went through the normal 'fob me off' responses before he leapt for and grabbed that holy grail of excuses - health and safety. If there was some sort of issue that had raised a possible health and safety concern, was the appropriate response from the contractor to down tools and collectively skive off? The workmen were scattered randomly in vehicles throughout the roadworks - if a danger was present, did it cover all 4 miles? I doubt it.

This is yet another example of the state, the Highways Agency and their contractors, doing one thing while saying the opposite, and treating the motorist and the public with lies and contempt while they milk the taxpayer for all they can!!

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