Category - Roadworks

Damned Road Works in Nottingham

Road works map of NottinghamThis is getting beyond a joke now. Take a look at the map of current road works in Nottingham (click the image above, or click here, for the full-size version).

This section of the map doesn’t even show the whole of the county, nor does it include at least two of the telephone pole replacement operations I’ve been caught up in over the last few of days.

There are literally hundreds of the f***ing things (every dot represents at least one, but sometimes several separate works). You get diverted by one set, then you get held up on the diversion route by another – made worse by the fact that traffic is being diverted that way from multiple locations.

If you think that’s bad, look at the 12 month forecast. And yes, the prats are going to be closing the A60 at some point at Daybrook and diverting Ring Road volumes of traffic through the side streets in Arnold – where other works are also planned. It’s just going to get worse and worse.

This is the result of incompetence of the highest order across many organisations. The Council, Severn Trent, Cadent, the electric companies, BT… all of them. The whole thing is made worse by the fact that relatively small jobs are invariably scheduled to last ten times longer than they need to – and frequently over run.

Cadent has been working on multiple sites on a rolling plan for getting on for a decade now. A typical example of their efficiency can be seen at the junction between the Ring Road and Beechdale Road. It’s one of the busiest junctions in Nottingham, and a few weeks ago (30 September) they blocked off part of the left-turn slip road into Beechdale. This caused major tailbacks because only one or two cars could get into the slip before the lights, which meant that fewer overall passed through the junction with each sequence. That was bad enough, but last week they blocked the left turn completely, and now traffic either follows the official diversion, or – if it knows better routes – goes through the narrow side streets. But it now means that all Ring Road traffic has to go ahead at the junction, causing bigger tailbacks than ever beyond the Crown Island. To add insult to injury – and the reason I’m singling them out – on at least two days last week absolutely no one from Cadent or anywhere else did any work whatsoever on that junction. There was literally no one there. No one at all.

Those works are scheduled up until 11 November. Over a whole f***ing month. And yet they could do it in a much shorter time if they didn’t employ time-wasting arseholes, and who actually worked for a living, and did proper hours, instead of the standard two in the morning,  two in the afternoon, and two in the van eating and not talking to each other. And who didn’t spend half of their “work” time pissing about with their phones. And incidentally, there’s no absolute reason for the slip lane to be closed in the first place, because they’re working on the verge – it’s the usual Health & Safety thing, where work can’t take place if traffic is passing within 5 metres, so they close off lanes to make sure it isn’t. Oh, and they aren’t working weekends or – it seems – if it’s raining. They are a joke outfit.

Severn Trent is also worth a mention. They are different to the others in that they never do any maintenance work (unless it involves maximum disruption in the first place), but instead wait until there is a leak. Then, they still do nothing until the leak has either damaged the road to the point of being dangerous, or has worsened to the point where people are reporting sightings of sea mammals going past the shops, and passing pilots heading to East Midlands are moaning about wet windscreens. At this point, they install temporary lights – the batteries of which they frequently allow to drain, resulting in the lights staying on red – then go away for a week. Then they come back, dig a hole, and go away again. A week later, they come back and fill the hole in, then go away again. Eventually, someone puts some tarmac over the filled-in hole, then goes away again. Several days later, someone comes to remove the traffic lights to use in a similar pantomime somewhere else. The whole process of fixing a leak takes at least two f***ing weeks (several months if you allow for when water was first reported gushing out of the ground), when it should be done in a day. And I know they could do it that quickly, because when they have one of their not-infrequent catastrophic leaks, they can dig up an entire road, replace a main, and put the road back in a fraction of the time it takes them to do one of the small ones. And Severn Trent is the only company I know that seems to think tarmac takes four days to cure before it can be driven on.

I often tell my pupils about how we didn’t used to have wheelie bins when I was their age. Instead, we had cylindrical metal dustbins, which had a small handle on each side. Usual custom was to fill it to overflowing with filth that was almost alive (in hot summers, it often was), possibly because of the batteries and any other electrical item you could cram in with the food waste, then wait for the bin men to come round every Monday, pick it up and sling it over their shoulder, and take it out to the dustbin van and manually empty it in there. A common follow up custom for some residents was to complain to the Council because the bin men hadn’t put the dustbin back exactly where it came from, or had left the lid off (these dustbins had round metal lids). Christ, you could have filled the dustbin to the brim with wet cement the night before, and they’d still take it out and empty it for you. They’d also take cupboards and almost anything else you left next to the dustbin. But these days, if the lid of the wheelie bin isn’t shut properly they’ll refuse to empty it – and you have to take it out to the roadside yourself, and bring it back in once emptied.

It’s the same with road works. Once upon a time, they could resurface several miles of road in a day, because they worked almost continuously – overnight and weekends. I mean, back in the day you could go to bed one night, and wake up next morning with a new motorway ready to drive on. These days you’re lucky if they do ten feet of road a day and work for more than an hour at a time. And it still takes a week or two more before someone comes and paints the lines on again (but only on the newly laid surface, because the faded lines on the old bits they haven’t touched “aren’t part of the contract”). And as for the signage… well, fixing that can take years (they still haven’t put signs up for the Virgin and Racecourse roundabouts after building the eco-clown route on the Colwick Loop Road, and that was finished almost two years ago).

Something has got to be done about this.

Most Dangerous Roundabout In The UK?

TumbleweedThis story has been in the news the last day or so. It concerns a new roundabout in Mickleover, Derbyshire, where there were 10 accidents within 48 hours of it opening.

Resident Peter Hall told the Derby Telegraph: “These accidents are not driver error but the result of a poorly designed, unlit roundabout on a 70mph dual carriageway.

“By my reckoning at least 10 vehicles have had accidents within less than 48 hours of this new junction opening – so it is probably the most dangerous roundabout in the country.”

Sorry, Peter. It IS driver error. It’s people being too thick to drive in accordance with what they have in front of them, choosing instead to put their heads down and hammer into the unknown. That sort of behaviour is one of the biggest problems with driving standards on our roads today.

It isn’t just young and inexperienced drivers, either. Far too many of these younger drivers will go through life not having a clue, and then they will become older drivers without a clue. Of course, there are already plenty of clueless older drivers from earlier generations, and they are almost as bad right now as today’s snot noses will be in 30 or 40 years’ time.

Some years ago, when they were building the tram system in Nottingham, they removed three roundabouts in Clifton and turned them into junctions. I can remember one of my pupils was on a lesson, and we drove down Farnborough Road towards where the first roundabout would have been several weeks earlier, and he actually stopped to look around. In the middle of nowhere! This shows what is going on inside some people’s heads. And sometimes, it’s not a lot.

Derby Telegraph has a video of traversing the roundabout from several directions, and it doesn’t look anywhere near as bad as is being suggested. It is clearly signed, and only a complete prat would miss it. There are “SLOW” signs, primary route direction signs, triangular roundabout signs, illuminated/flashing matrix signs, blue “left only” circles, both normal black and red “left bend” chevron signs, not to mention cones – which are always a bit of a give away that something might be ahead.

The most obvious physical “problem”, as distinct from the mental ones already highlighted, is that the approach roads are NSL – one of which is a dual carriageway. Being Derbyshire, that will translate to most of the residents as meaning “as fast as you can in your Audi or Corsa, whilst simultaneously peeling your banana and picking parasites out of your mate’s fur”.

To be fair, it would appear that some of the signage has gone up since the accidents, but not as much of it as the Telegraph (or Peter Hall) is suggesting. The direction signs – big green “primary route” roundabout signs – look very well-established, and if you know that a roundabout is coming then you start looking for it.

Nottingham City Council – Complete And Utter Prats

Broadmarsh Car ParkOne of the more difficult road layouts for learners to understand is the T-junction with priority over vehicles from the left or right. The majority of allegedly “experienced” road users haven’t got a clue about them, either.

Essentially, what they are is a T-junction, but instead of the naturally assumed arrangement whereby the upright of the ‘T’ meets the cross-bar at a give way line, the give way is actually on one the the arms of the cross-bar. For all practical purposes, you have a junction on a bend – with the bend being 90°. You generally find them on relatively quiet roads. On busier roads – and in places where the local authority has at least two brain cells to rub together – traffic lights take over and the issue of priority becomes moot, since safety is far more important.

They can be quite dangerous simply because people don’t understand them, ignore them, or just don’t see them. So take a look at this video.

It’s from my dashcam, recorded during a lesson on 11 July, and shows the T-junction between Canal Street and Collin Street just outside Broadmarsh. Until we encountered the junction on this lesson, I was not aware this junction was going to be altered other than the likelihood of it having temporary lights while they demolish the shopping centre car park.

For at least 40 years, this junction has been controlled by traffic lights. It is one of the busiest junctions in Nottingham, and it has five lanes coming in from Collin Street. Since it features on Colwick test routes, it is vital that pupils know how to deal with it. Unfortunately, for the last 10 years, Nottingham has become one complete set of road works and semi-permanent gridlock, and the Broadmarsh demolition is just the latest in a series of major development plans which serve to introduce huge traffic restrictions on the busiest routes for ridiculously long periods of time.

The thing about traffic light-controlled junctions is that the vast majority of road users abide by them. Even the most inept of drivers will have had to understand the concept of red means stop, and green means go in order to scrape their test pass, and although you do get the occasional retard who is so stressed out by driving in the city they don’t actually see the lights, the worst red light jumping morons usually don’t push it too far.Traffic lights to assumed priority

Nottingham City Council, who have repeatedly demonstrated themselves to be incompetent when managing every aspect of Nottingham,  has decided that this busy junction is no longer to be controlled by lights, but instead has turned it – literally overnight and with no significant prior warning that I am aware of – into one where Collin Street traffic has permanent priority over that coming into the city along Canal Street.

Let me just put that in a different way: Nottingham City Council has altered an extremely busy light-controlled junction into one where anyone using it has to interpret new road markings and make decisions beyond the basic “is that light red or green” type. After more than 40 years.

You can see from the video that if my pupil had exercised his right of way, that pink lorry – operated by Seth Punchard Storage and Distribution (tel. 07557 193040), and with the registration number AY08 AHZ (which, incidentally, is not the white colour it is registered as being) – would have gone straight into us. He hadn’t slowed down at all, and I am fairly certain that we would have been seriously injured or even killed had he hit us.

Several other cars went through, and although you can’t see it, I was angrily gesticulating to a DPD courier van off to the left and pointing at the give way lines, because he was trying it as well.


The new layout is an accident waiting to happen. The Nottingham Post (I advise you to have a pop-up blocker if you follow this link, otherwise it’ll take 10 minutes for the page to load) is reporting drivers’ consternation already. Naturally, the idiots in the Council are defending their incompetence.

The part that makes me laugh is where they naturally start quoting clueless people in order to try and maintain a balance where there isn’t one.

Laurie Harking, a retired librarian, said: “…it looks like a pretty big give way sign to me, I’m not sure how you would miss it.”

Yes, dear. I’m sure the family of most of the person potentially lying across several different tables in the local morgue would be comforted by that. My video, above, clearly shows that innocent people are being put at risk.

Changing the layout would have been bad enough. Changing it to this particular layout is stupid. Criminally stupid.

Nottingham. City. Council. Are. Idiots.

Four years ago, spurred on by the London Olympics, a lot of people with no brains took up cycling, and so joined a lot of other people with no brains who already cycled.

I think I should explain, for about the six hundredth time, that I ride a bike sometimes. But – being in possession of a brain – I tend to do the following:

  • keep away from traffic whenever possible
  • use cycle paths wherever possible
  • follow the rules in the Highway Code

As we all know, though, the vast majority of cyclists do none of these things. They deliberately ride in traffic, deliberately get in the way of traffic, deliberately refuse to use cycle paths and cycle lanes, and do not abide by a single rule in the Highway Code. And they’re just the good ones. The long and the short of it is that the number of brain dead cyclists on the roads has increased dramatically since London, and the Rio Olympics appear to have given the problem another kick start. As a result, the number of actually dead cyclists continues to rise.

Here in Nottingham, the City Council has decided that we should be like Amsterdam as far as bikes are concerned (it also decided we should be like Munich, Hanover, Vienna, Zagreb, and lots of other places it was nice to visit on expensive “fact finding” trips about tram systems, but that’s another story). Consequently, it has continued to plan and introduce more and more dedicated cycle routes – bravely ignoring all opposition – as it steamrollers its Cycle City Ambition Programme through every inch of road.

Probably the worst example at the moment is along Castle Boulevard and the surrounding area. This what the road used to look like:Castle Boulevard before the dedicated cycle route

Notice how the lanes were wide and there was already a cycle lane marked out.

But this is what it is like now, after the installation of Nottingham City Council’s Glorious Cycle Superhighway:Castle Boulevard with the dedicated cycle route

You can see how the kerbed area on the left has taken a significant amount of road away from motor vehicles. If you go back towards the city centre you will also notice that all the residential parking along the side where the cycle route is has been lost.

Further away from the city, at the junction with Abbey Bridge, the roundabout which used to be two lanes wide is now only a single lane (as are all the feed roads). This older shot is from the Lenton side before Google has had a chance to update its imagery:Castle Boulevard and two lanes on the roundabout

As a result – and bearing in mind that this is a main route into the city centre and the Castle Marina Retail Park – traffic is frequently queueing on to the roundabout, even outside rush hour. Nottingham City Council has, in its quest to make sweet love to all cyclists while systematically screwing all motorists, created serious congestion.

But I haven’t got to my point yet, I’m just about to show you proof that Nottingham City Council is staffed by complete and utter f–kwits.

Let’s turn left from Castle Boulevard and on to Abbey Bridge. Here’s what the road looked earlier this year (again, Google imagery hasn’t been updated yet):Abbey Bridge before the cycle route

Nice wide road with a cycle lane either side. Enough room for cars and lorries to keep well away from cyclists.

Here’s what it looks like now, with the Superhighway installed:Abbey Bridge with the cycle superhighway installed

You can’t quite see how narrow the lanes are now that more than a quarter of the road’s width has been given over to the new kerbed cycle route. Back down by the roundabout they’re narrower still, AND they have put in a pedestrian crossing more or less ON the roundabout itself.

Just consider this a moment. The area is more than 90% student accommodation, and is a ten minute walk from the University main campus. Anyone who has ever had to drive during rush hour where there are students and pedestrian crossings will know how much of a delay that can create as the crossing spends more time on red than it does on green. And you purposely put such a crossing right on a roundabout which – as we’ve already seen – is on a road which was busy to begin with, and which has been made more so by the halving of its capacity. And the problems already being encountered have occurred during summer before the students come back…? But I still haven’t come to my point yet – and you’re going to love it!

As you travel over Abbey Bridge and down the other side, you approach the junction with Lenton Lane on the left and Gregory Street on the right. This is what it looks like right now:The Abbey Bridge traffic lights

As the cycle superhighway ends, the road opens up into two lanes at the lights. The lanes are clearly marked as you approach, thus:Abbey Bridge lights - road markings

One detail you might not notice is that, having spent millions on building a dedicated and segregated cycle route, the Council f—kwits have not seen fit to provide any cycle lane between the end of the superhighway and the cycle forward area at the lights. You will understand that in normal operation, hundreds of cars will be trying to move into that left hand lane while – theoretically, at least – hundreds of Bradley Wigginses will be trying to move into it from the superhighway. And it’s not marked up in any way!

But I’m still not there yet. And here it comes.

This is what the road looked like until two days ago. At the weekend they had the road markers out, and this is what they did at this junction. It is exactly the same as in the photo above on the approach, but this is what you have when you get there:Abbey Bridge lights - cycle route markings

Precisely what that left turn arrow is doing there is anyone’s guess. But the placement of a marked cycle lane right in the path of traffic has to be the most stupid and dangerous thing I have ever seen carried out by people in positions of ill-deserved power.

It’s so dangerous it’s criminal. Literally.

I should point out that the last three images were taken from the same video clip I recorded when I drove through the junction today. I didn’t have a picture of the junction prior to the weekend so I simply erased the new cycle lane in the 2nd image to show what it looked like last week.

They simply cannot leave it like this, as it is an accident waiting to happen. The big question, though, is what will they do? The road is too busy – a lot of people turn right – to restrict traffic to just the right hand lane. It isn’t wide enough to accommodate the superhighway and two lanes either at or beyond this junction (I guess that’s why it ends 50m short). There are definitely two lanes on the other side. And the road has been two lanes for so long – decades – changing it now would be dangerous. In any case, the road leads to the ring road, and is a major route to Long Eaton, Beeston, Chilwell, and Derby.

Lenton students are idiots

Someone found the blog on that search term. ALL students are idiots. The problem with Lenton is that 99.9% of the population is student, so the problem is amplified.

What is a Euphemism for “Stupid”?

To add to the gridlock caused by road works – arranged by Nottingham’s incompetent council – an incompetent motorist decided to increase congestion today by “[becoming] wedged on the [tram] tracks” on Lenton Lane. You can’t beat a good euphemism.Car wedged on tram line 

I have yet to find a version of the story which makes it clear that the retard who was driving had entered a tram-only area and had actually fallen into the track cut out. The phrase “became wedged” doesn’t tell the half of it.

Whoever it was should be banned for life. If you’re stupid enough to do something like this, God only knows what else you’d be capable of if you were allowed to carry on driving.