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Aim for long term view


Further to your Comment (NCE 5 February), I strongly agree that engineers must get more involved in the decisions made on our transport infrastructure, indeed our infrastructure of all kinds.

Politicians are only ever concerned about the short term and the next election, while engineering infrastructure should be built and maintained for generations.

Engineers have managed to achieve much with insufficient funds but this cannot continue indefinitely. We need decisions made on a proper long-term basis, and surely this would increase the importance of adequate maintenance.

Of course politicians, and engineers, love big projects as they gain more kudos than smaller and ongoing maintenance projects.

However, without maintenance the big project will not achieve its potential, and indeed will deteriorate over time.

There are many instances where a new facility has rapidly become an eyesore because of lack of maintenance and then needs replacing within 20-30 years. This is not sustainable.

Please can we, as engineers, emphasise the need for the long-term view and for sufficient maintenance for existing infrastructure before we aim for the big new build?

Colin Sherwood, principal consultant, Mott MacDonald, 33 Stamford Street, Altrincham, Cheshire, WA14 1ES

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