Why bother having motorway hard shoulders?

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From: John Wilson, New Road Side, Horsforth, Leeds.

REGARDING the M62 misery caused mainly by work to the hard shoulder, it puzzles me why we have hard shoulders on motorways at all.

As I understand it, the argument appears to be that occasionally a car breaks down and temporarily prevents other cars using one of the lanes. Therefore we should designate the left hand lane as a hard shoulder, thereby blocking it off permanently to everyone.

It is evident the cure is worse than the disease. Better a temporary blockage than a permanent one.

I wonder what they would say if I suggested that for every school or hospital we should have another one nearby standing empty all the time just in case? But that’s what we do with motorway lanes.

Now you say we are going to have gantry signs overhead set to the appropriate speed for the circumstances. But surely the appropriate speed is the speed that stops you bumping into the car in front? Do we need an expensive sign to tell us that? And the signs usually get it wrong anyway. How many times do the signs say 50 when the traffic is stood still? I rarely see seen a sign telling the truth – the appropriate speed for those conditions is 0mph.

Similarly, if the expensive flashy sign says, “Fog take care” that probably means there is no fog for at least 50 miles. And it’s behind you anyway.

Now they even have new signs that say “New sign not in service” when it clearly is or it wouldn’t be telling you that.

And I notice the speed limit signs in the coned off area say 11mph. Not 10 or 12, but 11. I bet there are very sophisticated reasons why a service vehicle doing 10mph can safely get a move on whereas a service vehicle at 12mph will crash and burn and cause mayhem. No doubt some expensive consultants have received a fat fee for working that out.

These are supposed to be times of austerity. Can’t we just get by without all this stuff? Can’t we just fine the folks who are chucking all this money away? After all, they must be easy to identify, even without the cameras they use on the motorists trying to get a day’s work done.