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By Martinson, Harry

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Sample text

Eventually, with FH agreement, policies for whole route improvements were adopted in which a single The motorway programme: Planning and engineering economic assessment covered the series of individual schemes that were built piecemeal. This was often the case with extensive lengths of contiguous motorway schemes that could only be constructed in sections according to both the design resources available, the difficulties inherent in planning schemes, acquiring the land necessary then building the road.

The alternative was to under-design some schemes for Public Inquiry and then face the later prospect of additional widening and more costly works. The taxpayer would bear these additional costs or the economy bear the additional operating costs. As in life, risks had to be carried and the considered best balance of economy and equity put before the Inspector at the Public Inquiry. Clearly the skill of the Department's expert witness at a Public Inquiry was tested to the full, particularly in explaining the predictions of future traffic flow on the proposed new route and the rest of the network and also its effect upon the environment.

Generally, the view of practising engineers is that the public would have been better served by the adoption of a more restricted approach to select list tendering exclusively for motorway contracts. The effect of poor construction and unplanned roadworks on motorway operating capacity produces considerable economic disbenefit to the national economy. But this would have been impossible to quantify because there was no reliable information available; this was the only basis of argument that earned any weight with the Treasury who would never accept an engineering judgement on such issues.

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