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I was heartened to hear that the US has a stockpile of 4.2M unsold sports utility vehicles (SUVs - those big lifestyle 4x4s that clog up our urban streets). If parked nose to nose they'd stretch from Washington to Baghdad - apparently. So are Americans at last waking up to the need to reduce their energy consumption?

Not so, it seems the biggest deterrents are rising fuel prices and a popular campaign 'What would Jesus drive?'

It's not just engineers who appreciate good road design.

Driving instructor Clive Greenaway of Poole in Dorset is so enamoured by free flowing traffic that he plans to create a 2005 calendar featuring his top 12.

Diary's own personal favourite is on the A321/A30 near Camberley in Berkshire because it guides you seamlessly through a complicated set of options. And vying for top spot is that old favourite, the magic roundabout in Swindon - lots of little roundabouts that lead you entertainingly to the big central one. Least popular - the M20/A20/M25 roundabout because no one is ever in the right lane.

Bidders for construction of Italy's hugely ambitious Messina Bridge will need to demonstrate an ability to smile in the face of groan-inducing humour. Mapping out the project's legal and financial status in London last week Franco Vigliano, head of projects at lawyer Allen & Overy, advising client Stretto di Messina, finished with this killer gag: 'Bankers can't resist bridges - where else do you get a well structured investment with underlying liquid assets?' Gah.

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