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In The Market - Some worrying signs on the motorway

Those of us who drive on the roads of West Norfolk will know their problems all too well.

I’ve spent a lot of time since I moved here seven years ago talking about the need for improvements, particularly to the A47 and latterly to the A10 and I daresay that won’t change any time soon.

But, living as we do in a rural area, there are, at least, some things we don’t have to worry about, like the electronic notices you see if you venture further afield onto our motorway network.

So it was with some measure of alarm that I noted the sign on the M62 on Friday night which declared: “Report of Pedestrians.”

I was on the road back from Manchester, where I’m spending quite a lot of my time these days, having re-entered the world of part-time study alongside full-time work.

Now, even after a full day in lectures, that is the sort of sign that tends to get your attention. After all, when did you last see a pedestrian on a motorway?

There wasn’t just one of these signs either. As I continued east, there were several of them, each noted with a certain degree of trepidation.

What was I going to encounter? Presumably, it wasn’t going to be good. It reminded me of a similarly disconcerting moment last summer when I was warned of an “oncoming obstruction” on the M6, while heading back home from Worcester.

On both occasions, however, the truth was rather more mundane than the potents of doom that had previously been implied. In Friday’s case, there had been what looked like a relatively minor shunt which held me up for a bit, though the reports of pedestrians appeared to be out of date by the time I reached the scene.

Now, I try not to get too wound up if I’m sat in traffic and going nowhere fast. As anyone who has endured the jams caused by the ongoing Saddlebow works will know, there’s not a lot you can do about traffic congestion, particularly if you need to travel at peak times.

Admittedly, this attitude was severely tested at the weekend when my intended lunch booking before watching my football team lose (yet again) was put in jeopardy by queues.

But I had rather less tolerance for those motorists who felt able to pass me on the hard shoulder while I was stuck in stationary traffic, particularly as one of the last things I passed before it was a board saying I couldn’t drive on that bit, even though it was on part of the so-called “smart” motorway sections where that is allowed.

Perhaps, then, I should be grateful that West Norfolk’s roads are the way they are. I’ll certainly be sticking with them until my next venture to the north-west in a few weeks time. They have their faults, and we all want improvements, but at least I shouldn’t see one of those electronic boards for a while.

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