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Road Works

Posted on Thursday 13th September 2007 at 00:00
There are road works outside my apartment.

Well, I say road works, these aren't real road works and, what's more, they aren't outside my apartment either, but a few yards further up the road. Not that this really matters, since issues of location are more important with real road works, which (I think I mentioned) these are not.

Real road works come in many different shapes and sizes, but are easily identifiable to the amateur road work spotter by the presence of work being done in and to the road. This work can take various forms, but usually consists of one or more holes or trenches being dug into the road surface, tarmac being dug up, a pneumatic drill and at least one token pile of earth & because you just can't have road works without the pile of earth depicted on the warning signs we all know and dread.

One thing you can be pretty sure won't be a feature of road works is a road that hasn't been worked on at all. Note well, I didn't say being worked on (except in the previous paragraph, when it seemed to fit and which I now can't be arsed to change), as this is a different matter entirely. It is actually extremely common to see road works on which no one is actually doing any work, as this is the normal state of play in which any workman being paid to do work prefers to keep his site. He does this because it is a well known trade secret among such professionals that the best way to stop dust and dirt from landing in the teeth-rottingly sweet tea is to avoid any activities that may lift that dust and dirt from the ground in the first place. But I digress.

Whilst you don't ever see any work being done by workmen, you can bet your life that by the time you pass the road works they'll have dug a hole sufficiently large as to ensure that no one can drive on that section of the road until they have been paid a massive bonus to fill it in again.

This is always the case with real road works. With my fake road works however, it is clear to see that there has been some sort of mistake. The 3-way temporary traffic lights are in place,; the 'When red light shows, please wait here? boards are present (although admittedly they've been propped up against the traffic lights, which doesn't leave you much room to pull out into if you choose to take such signs literally); and the long queues of vexed car drivers are on site, horns at the ready.

But that is it.

There are no holes, no cones, no drills and no workmen. Not even ones with mugs of tea in their hands. Someone has forgotten the parts of road works that actually make them road works, as oppose to an irritating additional set of traffic lights to add to the 19 sets that already feature on my daily commute round the east side of Bristol. In some ways it's a good thing to have them there I guess; I do like round numbers. Oh wait, there are at least two sets of traffic lights that I forgot to count just then. Bugger.

These road works arrived on Monday, and so far as I can tell, are the most unnecessary obstruction to free flowing traffic since the Twyford Down road protest camp. Careful observation of the surrounding area has led me to the following conclusion:

The road in question is a main road between Kingswood and Downend. Coming off this road is a small residential street, on which they appear to have parked a digger and left some tools. Although it's a tight squeeze, this road is still accessible to the half a dozen or so cars that use it each year. However, seemingly worried about the safety of these vehicles, the person running the project has seen fit to extend the temporary traffic lights to include the 20 cars a minute main road, despite the fact that the road works do not extend into this road at all.

The person running the project is a moron.

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