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Letters to the Editor


A449: the empire strikes back

Giles Darling (NCE last week) really should learn to check his facts before writing.

The section of the A449 between Worcester and Kidderminster that he describes as 'a pleasant 12 minute journey at 70mph' had a speed related accident record that left five people dead and many more seriously injured during the three years before start of works.

In the first six months since the installation of the accident remedial measures, not traffic calming, there have been just two injury accidents, resulting in one serious and one slight casualty. The trial of self-illuminated road studs is but a small element of the scheme.

Extensive before and after surveys have shown that 85 percentile speeds have reduced from around 74mph to about 55mph, which reflect well against the new lower 50mph speed limit.

Further, the Highways Agency is the highway authority responsible for this section of A449 not the Local Highway Authority.

From our viewpoint the accident reduction measures have been a success. While that has meant a slightly slower journey on the A449, most road users will consider that to be a price well worth paying.

Ian Askew, A449 route manager, Area 9, C3, 5 Broadway, Broad Street, Birmingham B15 1BL

Voice of reason

Advice to my two boys who keep showing an interest in civil engineering. Forget engineering, forget being a doctor, train as a nurse.

Nursing offers end salaries of £30,000 to 40,000, and starting salaries comparable with graduates. It provides safe and continuous employment, the best pension our money can buy, lots of paid training and little or no professional responsibility. Lowering of educational requirements for easier entry to encourage more applicants means you don't have to work so hard to get in.

I seem to have missed something here, just as I'm sure our fellow professionals are thinking as well. Why bother to get a degree; well, a difficult one anyway? Why work to become qualified, in many cases to be legally responsible for one's actions, and earn less than a poor undervalued nurse? I will not let my children be exploited by this and other institutions. If they can't be nurses, then they should become plumbers or electricians - careers where they can earn a good living, don't have to have camping holidays in Normandy and drive a nice car.

Stephen Trowbridge (M), Greystones, Front Street, Chedzoy, Bridgwater TA7 8RE

Concrete support

We are seeking the assistance of NCE readers to locate a short section of around 250m of Armco barrier that needs replacing. The objective is to carry out a trial to slipform a concrete replacement straight over the Armco in order to speed up the process and provide a long lasting alternative. Would anyone interested please write or email

Martin Clarke, director of marketing, British Cement Association, Century House, Telford Avenue, Crowthorne, Berkshire RG45 6YS

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