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Signs of weakness


A considerable amount of money has been invested in the variable message signs project on the M6 between Birmingham and Warrington, and in other places across the country.

Never has a project been better named. 'Variable' appears to apply not just to the content of the message, but also its quality.

Examples include: 'Caution spray risk' northbound on the M6 near Crewe, 36 hours after the last rain and 'Queue ahead' approaching the M62/M6 junction - but I've got a choice of three routes, and if I knew just a bit more detail, I could probably take avoiding action.

It is a good system, but it's not being properly managed and exploited. I've heard that the police may be reluctant to use it for fear of directing traffic onto other roads, but if this is the case, why was it installed?

By contrast, the Scottish system, which extends from Abington on the M74 to north of Perth on the A9, and across the Central Belt from West to East is normally very reliable, active, and above all useful.

David Gartside (M), 19 The Mount, Congleton, Cheshire CW12 4FD

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