Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Working Buzz

For the first week in ages, I've felt a real buzz about being at work, not sure if it's the coming of spring or if I'm feeling ill but there is certainly something going off ! I actually worked a full ten and a half hour day today too, that's been unheard of since well before Christmas, let's hope I can keep the pace up... Well for a few weeks at least !

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Summer is here !

Well perhaps not, but it's lovely and sunny here today, getting me in the mood for doing things and getting out of the house after what seemed a long dark winter. Roll on spring, BBQ's, drinks on the decking and lazy evenings watching the sun drop below the horizon.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Quick note to Gordon

At what point does a road become number one priority for an upgrade ? I'd love to know the answer, because having being stuck today at three points on the Yorkshire motorway network that are in dire need of extra capacity, I'm wanting to grab the MP responsible, place them in a room with 1000's of other cross motorists and see what affect that has on future work !

My typical journey, three or four times a week is more or less fine in the morning, if I leave home at 6am ! But coming home, there are three sections that really get me cross, first is the M62 J26-27, which has been the scene of a innovative waste of money called a HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) Lane, which must be the most abused restriction in the entire country and done nothing for the journey times on the M62.

The second, on the M1 heading from Lofthouse (J42) to J41 is also an object lesson in how not to design motorways. Granted, back in the 1970's I'm sure this section was a great improvement over using the old a roads, but now, an inordinate number of vehicles have to weive here, with three lanes of vehicles joining from the southbound J42 slip wanting lanes two and three and half a city coming down the M1 wanting to leave at J41. This mind numbing experience each day strikes me as one of the hot top 10 locations on the network that if improved, could contribute in save time alone to the billions wasted on the banks.

Last up, the M1 passes Sheffield, whilst three lanes of motorway have been great between Wakefield and Sheffield, approaching the Tinsley Viaduct, the motorway loses capacity to a shopping centre ! Now dont get me wrong here, the shopping centre generates enough traffic to warrant a whole lane, if not two, but that shouldn’t be at cost to the strategic shipping of goods and the long haul drivers that face this nightmare daily.

So what’s the solution ? I say damn the banks, if a bank goes under, good riddance, let the government take over the mortgage loans, gaining income from the population and use the £100's of Billions being pumped into paperclips and champagne dinners back into industry to build roads and homes, manufacture bridges and structures, maintain crumbling infrastructure and create jobs.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Well would you credit it ?

Had a call today from a hotel I'm staying at in June. I was a little cautious at first, the caller was via a mobile, began asking me if I had given my credit card details when I made the booking, I suspected a scam, but was wrong, the caller worked for the hotel and explained that the hotel had intruders in the night who had taken the whole safe, inside which could have been my credit card number, 3 digit code, expiry date, name an address ! To avoid any dodgy dealings, I phoned my bank to get the card cancelled ! Makes you wonder just how many times you details are actually aquired without your knowledge and just how much risk you really are at from credit card fraud ?

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Last of the snow ?

Just when we think it's all over, the cloulds close in and the fluffy white stuff starts to fill the air. Driving through the snow on the motorway at a reasonable motorway speed always gives me a buzz, perhaps it's because it looks so fresh, perhaps it's the science fiction look of going into hyperspace or maybe just the unique geometric patterns of the falling particles.... Have you got the feeling that I like the snow ? Yeah of course I do, sadly it would seem the last of the snow has passed us by.... Well just for this year at least.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Yellow snow ?

What do you get when you empty your camera memory card ? Photos that you forgot that you had taken of course... Here is one of the snow in our back garden

iPhone a gogo

New toys have to be played with, so now I can post from my iPhone which although initially seems a little geeky, I hope to use this method of posting when I go on my two mega road trips in the summer.

The first is a run around the UK, visiting places on the south coast and in Wales that I've never visited before, finishing with a mad dash from John O Groats to Lands End in 15hrs.... Can it be done ???

The second will be my honeymoon, so perhaps not as well reported, but never the less, I'm under instruction to keep the family updated on our progress around France, Italy and the Swiss Alps.

Read all about it in my second blog - http://operationbroadsword.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Frustrated Traffic Engineer

Many people ask me what my dream job is... I reply that I'd love to design and build roads, to which they say, isn't that what you do? Well the cold truth is that although I am an Engineer that is involved with the design, construction and management of the highway, it is becoming increasingly rare to be able to do what I originally got into the industry to do, that is, build roads...

Perhaps I've missed the golden age of road building, perhaps my aspirations are higher than the reality of life, but I'm often at odds with what I say in private and what I say to the public. As each year goes by, we are increasingly faced with more congestion on our roads, we spend more time in traffic queues that seemingly have no cause. We have more comfortable and powerful cars than ever before, yet we are more frustrated by the steel cage that we call a car.

I've become more mindful of the concept that perhaps traffic congestion has become too difficult for simpletons to understand and too costly for the tax payer to fund... so where do we go? We have a choice, we either continue into the black hole that we are currently heading, or we look to box clever and develop a vision for our children to inherit. I'm not simply talking about a big master plan for building new roads, I'm thinking about all aspects of our lives and how we use transport, how we shop and how we socialise. Transport is at the heart of modern day life, we need to embrace the reality that personal transport is here to stay, that short local trips could be made on foot, that anything over half a mile, for most, the car is the first choice and that public transport can only be a success when the alternatives are vastly more inconvenient and expensive.

Whats a round tuit ?

We have a phrase in Sheffield when asked by our better halves if we have done something we should have done, days, weeks, even months ago... the male Sheffielders reply with "I haven't got a round tuit yet", so whats the solution ? I was given a steel plate with the phrase "A round tuit" written on the front, so now I've no excuse for not doing things and given that most of my musings are generally road related and that our roads in the UK are generally have no vision, it seems like a suitable name for a page...

A blog ?

After more than 10 years of having a website, I felt to myself that it was high time I looked at contributing to a blog. The website has been my form of diary for many years, but like all of technology innovations, where do you find the time to keep such things up to date ? So, here I am, hopefully I'll keep things more current, but probably end up posting more irrelevance and waffle than I did before... Anyways, welcome to my blog !