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Long running projects

The question

Residents of Cornish village St Dennis were celebrating last week after work finally began on a pavement they were promised in 1932.

Every year work on the main road had fallen victim to other demands on the council's budget. What long running sagas are dear to your heart?

One project I have been banging on about is very close to my home and heart. The railway line at the rear of my house (well, 150m away) creates noise and vibration in all the houses in my part of Shrewsbury.

For three years without success I have been contacting Network Rail, operating companies, the Health & Safety Executive and the local council to try to get them to do something about it.

John Brownlie, 55, project director, Shrewsbury The A40 Pontargothi bypass. This trunk road project was fully designed in 1974 by consultants acting on behalf of the Welsh Office. Legal notices were served on affected property owners and it appeared in the Welsh Office's midterm programme, which meant it was due to start construction within five years. Sadly it did not progress up the capital programme and remained in the mid-term programme each year. I moved into the village in 1984 and immediately raised a petition which found locals to be massively in favour of the project. I got letters of support from the local highways authority (as agent to the Welsh Office for trunk road improvements) and the Police. I abstracted up-todate accident figures from the highways authority which showed that several deaths had occurred on the section of road that would be bypassed by the new scheme.

Finally, the entire package of documents was presented to the Welsh secretary. And what was the result of all this? The project moved from the mid- to long-term capital programme, and finally disappeared altogether. Notices to 'treat' served on landowners along the proposed route were allowed to lapse thus ruling out all possibility of a resurrection!

Apparently, the scheme attracted a negative cost-benefit analysis and was never going to progress. Why couldn't the authorities say this at the feasibility stage and thus save a lot of money on design and legal costs, and avoid misleading a generation of villagers and incomers who were told about the project during the legal searches stage of buying a local property?

Philip Bonner-Steel, 52, water engineer, mid wales While I have devoted many years of blood, sweat and tears, not to mention professionalism, to my particular long-term project, it would appear to be a fruitless task that will remain forever unfulfilled.

What is this Herculean task for which I strive, you ask? To earn recognition for my efforts on a par with accountants, lawyers and doctors. Me, bitter?

Andria Hubbard, structural engineer, Exeter I have been fortunate enough to see virtually all my projects turn to reality. Wind farms did use two years of my career, but I still believe in them, even though they are uneconomic. I understand from local notables that the Ripon bypass was planned before World War I, so I wonder how long the new rail link will take?

Geoff Home, 54, director, North Yorkshire I am still working on a get rich quick scheme. It has taken me 22 years so far and I have not found one yet. I am sure that working in consultancy isn't it, though.

Andy Dunhill, 43, partner, Sheffield

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