I’ve written about this before, but we’re due an update since things have got much worse since that last article.
Let me just summarise an important detail here: trams might be politically correct as a form of transport, capable of making the average council employee wet their pants at the mere mention of them, but they are definitely not a green form of transport.
Nottingham’s existing tram is an utter joke. It’s been shoehorned into a place where there isn’t room for it in order to link the kinds of places which have a police helicopter hovering permanently above them to the City Centre. In Basford, for example, it runs alongside a railway line, and if you catch it right you can be waiting for ages (my current personal best is over 40 minutes) just to travel a few hundred metres.
The existing network is known as Phase I. Phase II began several months ago and was flagged in advance by the usual “Expect Delays” signs erected by the jubilant council and contract workers. The first of these appeared along University Boulevard ahead of cutting down most of the trees.
Since then, University Boulevard has become Hell On Earth every single night of the week. You see, it is a two-lane road, and it is one of only two ways of getting out towards Bramcote and Long Eaton short of testing cosmology theory to the max! But the complete imbeciles responsible for the tram – both council and contractor – have somehow been allowed to close one lane off, and all the traffic now has to get through using just one lane. Incredibly, this state of affairs has been operating since the beginning of June, and given that the workmen apparently working there are only visible for about 4 hours a day (and only on weekdays) there is no obvious end to the chaos.
It is even more unbelievable that the police have allowed it to continue. If I created tailbacks that long every night of the week I’d be committing a criminal offence, and I can’t see how it should be any different for those idiots who have authorised all of this.
The photo above shows the area affected. The far lane you can see is closed with large concrete blocks and the gap in the central; reservation is also coned off. If people need to get into the Hockey Club entrance you can see over the other side, they have to go to the next set of lights and turn round (the sign says “Hockey Club open as usual”, or something similar, but the extra 30 minutes it can take to get into it is far from “usual”).
The most frightening thing of all is that they could easily have flattened the central reservation and made a contraflow system to keep two lanes open. But they didn’t. That’s because they are – as I have already said – complete idiots.
But now the situation is getting much worse. You see, Phase II is going to take the tram to all the rough areas in Nottingham that Phase I missed. For several months there have been “Expect Delays” signs in Beeston, Long Eaton, parts of the City, and Clifton, and they’ve been busy clearing greenbelt and other land and turning it into muddy waste (during the bird nesting season, I hasten to add – all normal rules and regulations appear to be suspended when the project has “tram” in it).
Over the last two weeks it has become virtually impossible to bypass University Boulevard by going through Beeston and Chilwell because they have now begun work in those places (cutting off lanes and erecting “3-way lights”).
This week, work began on Haydn Road in the City, and that means huge delays if you try to go that way, and huge delays if you try to bypass it (because everyone else is trying to do the same). On Friday I got into the queue on Haydn Road, realised my mistake, then got stuck in another queue of people trying to avoid it in Hyson Green. ( EDIT: I take this one back – for a while, at least. They haven’t started roadworks there yet, so it must have been some other problem that I encountered this week. However, the warning signs say National Grid start work there on 23 July for up to 12 weeks – in normal-speak that means 15 weeks or more. )
Also this week, part of Southchurch Drive in Clifton is closed off with “3-way lights” in place.
They – that is, the council and the contractor involved – are not “sorry for any inconvenience” they cause. It is deliberate and they relish having caused it. They have made no attempt whatsoever to avoid any of it.
Nottingham is rapidly moving towards a total evening gridlock situation, and it is all the fault of the Council.