Friday, 18 February 2011

Less money for rural road repairs . . . really?

HERE at Harry Halftrack’s quality emporium for pre-owned military vehicles I’m sure I’ve got something for you.

There’s a nice little scout car for the discerning senior citizen looking for a combination of durability and economy while we’ve just had in an armoured personnel carrier which is a must for any large family looking for space, storage and power.

The Scorpion will entertain any boy racer while, for executives looking to make a statement or sales reps trying to ensure there are no hold-ups on their rounds, we recommend our Challenger battle tank.

Nothing gets in its way and we also have a buy-one-shell-get-one-free offer during March.

Yes, folks, if you’re looking to survive on Dorset’s roads, we’re your first choice for solid driving which will get you there no matter how deep the potholes are.

All this may just be a bit of light-hearted fun, but there is an edge to it because it may well not be too long before we all need caterpillar tracks to get anywhere.

This is because Dorset County Council has just announced it is cutting back on maintenance for its rural roads network.

Having just driven along the Bridport to Weymouth coast road, I am amazed that DCC can contemplate anything other than a sharp increase in spending. The idea of a cut is ludicrous!

This route is littered with massive potholes while to enter, drive through and out of Abbotsbury you really do need an armoured vehicle to avoid wrecking suspensions or shaking a dental filling loose.

Granted the coast route, despite being classified as a “B” road, may be made a special exception, but there are plenty of minor roads round the back of Portesham, Martinstown and other rural communities which need their lifeline roads maintained not allowed to deteriorate even further.

So perhaps the county council could tone its cuts approach down a bit to help such communities rather than hinder them.

After all, I’m sure there are one or two parish councils in the market for a nice Warrior fighting vehicle with one careful owner which comes complete with its own missile system for those all important protest marches to County Hall!

A lonely lamppost in its own special parking lay-by

IT was the sort of motoring joke that Weymouth residents have become all too familiar with in recent months.

Work on the town’s new transport system is advancing swiftly - well, it’s advancing - and there sporting a nice fresh black coat of tarmac and some lovely new white lines was a brand spanking new North Quay layby.

It was still cordoned off by barriers but clearly this was a facility right on the brink of use.
So what, I hear you ask, was stopping cars from pulling in to take advantage of its parking opportunities?

The answer was a 20ft lamppost still standing in the middle of the layby parking area!
Presumably it had existed minding its own business on a pavement before the area was chopped about for the new transport system.

Instead of cutting the lamppost down first so that the whole completed layby could have a single unbroken coat of tarmac, it appears that the entire layby was built round it and then covered with tarmac.

This will ensure that when the lamppost is finally removed there will be a hole which will have to be covered with a tarmac patch which goes against the whole approach of joint road and facility works which was to prevent two lots of disruption digging roads up or patching them more than once.

At least the new traffic lights at Boot Hill are working well to ensure there are no near misses from cars trying to turn across oncoming traffic…. aren’t they?

AMAZING what a simple bit of clearance work can do.

I happened to pause near the Wessex Stadium in Weymouth and look over a fence down into a stream bed because bank clearance meant it was the first time I’d really had a chance to see it.

Suddenly there was a flash of glorious colour and I was stood there entranced watching the first kingfisher I had seen for years.

It took full advantage of the newly opened water and flitted along the stream from one overhanging branch to another looking keenly for its next meal.

Any amount of work has to be worth it if such wonderful creatures can be encouraged to populate the area.

VALENTINE’S Day went off quite well and my black eye is already showing signs of healing.

It was my own fault really because I’d done all the usual card-and-kiss routines and seemed to have gained valuable brownie points on the marital scoreboard.

Then the postman came with two more Valentine cards for my wife and we enjoyed a laugh and a few jokes about that until she noticed that I was holding four envelopes.

She then delivered a beautiful left cross before storming out to go shopping which was a great pity really.

If she’d stayed she’d have been able to help me open a gas bill, a car warranty and two catalogue offers.

Oh well, the course of true love never did run smoothly.

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