IF it wasn’t for the fact that a hastily-repaired giant sinkhole in the middle of a busy road in Japan had started collapsing again, there would be much to admire from that country’s approach to infrastructure.
At least the Japanese got on with closing the chasm in a week – and then apologised when the road’s temporary reopening was delayed by a day. Contrast this with the pedestrian approach in Britain where potholes are left unrepaired for years and repairs to routes damaged by flooding last winter are still to be completed.
With poorly planned roadworks exacerbating delays – and the powers-that-be not even able to prioritise the timing of traffic lights in peak periods – it is little wonder that tailbacks in Hull, Sheffield, Bradford and Leeds now cost the Yorkshire economy £90m a year.
Even though there needs to be a change of mindset so construction projects are speeded up, the plain fact of the matter is this volume lost productivity will only increase, still further, unless the Government accepts that this region’s infrastructure is not fit for purpose and is going to pot. And while some say HS2 is an unnecessary folly, the failure of successive generations to invest in new roads, railways, cycleways and public transport is the major reason why Yorkshire will remain stuck in a jam. In all seriousness, the Japanese would not accept this. Why should Britain?