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Shropshire Star comment: Patience is a virtue for motorists

By Shropshire Star | Opinions | Published:

Three cheers for roadworks. Let’s hear it for them. And may there be lots of lovely roadworks to come.

Okay, we don’t hear any motorists joining in the cheers. But as Shropshire motorists continue to suffer from delays, let’s remember something that in their frustration they may overlook.

Roadworks are making the roads better and safer. Hit a pothole recently? You may well have done, with the ravages of the winter. Filling those holes needs roadworks.

Minor in that case, but in Oswestry there are currently some major changes at the Maesbury Road junction. This has been a notorious accident blackspot and there have been campaigns for something to be done.

Something is now being done, but is expected to take up to five months, and the upshot has been huge traffic tailbacks.

Highways England is now asking motorists to be patient and a young artist has produced a sign with the message Better Late Than Dead On Time, a variation on the traditional saying of it being better to be late in this world than early in the next.

Patience in motoring is indeed generally a virtue and impatience generally makes accidents more likely, through reckless, too fast, or misjudged driving in an attempt to make up time.

Nevertheless, the responsibility works both ways. It has to be a deal in which Highways England or the workforce play their part through making sure that the work is so organised as to keep disruption to a minimum.

Motorists are human beings and to be held up for significant periods on their commutes for no obvious reason is going to cause irritation. There is an expectation that some visible road working will be going on, and that they will not be inactive or deserted for hours, or even days, on end.

Another frustration, which does not apply just to roadworks, is to arrive at traffic lights and find they are on red for all directions for an unnecessarily long period.

The call is to ‘take your time’. But the unwritten contract has to be that the ‘take your time’ message applies to the motorists, and that in contrast the roadworks themselves will be completed as quickly as is reasonably possible.

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