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Road sense

LETTERS

The 'Getting out of neutral' paper (NCE 30 September) advocates the development of new rail lines, freight only rail lines and rail freight terminals. These are all laudable aims, but they suffer from one major deficiency. Even if work started today on the development of a network of rail improvements across the country, it would be 15 or 20 years before those developments could effectively contribute to relieving this country's 'transportation overload'.

In the short term, strategically designed road improvement schemes, targeted at the areas of most severe congestion, are the only feasible way to keep the commercial and social life of the country functioning. Indeed, relief of congestion is perhaps the only way to improve the problems of road maintenance (also highlighted in this report), which are primarily that the roads wear out too quickly - because they are overloaded, and that any works on the highway cause excessive congestion because there is no spare capacity on to which to divert the traffic.

Roads can be developed incrementally, to deal with the worst bottlenecks first, much more easily than can railways, which intend to require the construction of entire routes.

Stewart A Rotherham (M), 23 Feniton Gardens, Feniton, Honiton, Devon, EX14 0DG

Urban crawl

I fully support the Government's drive to introduce a 20mph speed limit in urban areas, mainly because I am fed up with driving at 8mph in central London.

Peter A Lamprell (M), 23 Cedar Green, Hoddesdon, Herts, EN11 8BZ

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