It’s a bit scary to think that there are so many berries on my holly bushes this year. More than twice last year and look at the winter that was! If you have not heard the old wives’ tale, the number of red berries on a holly bush is supposed to be an indicator of how harsh the forthcoming winter will be.
We have gone through some drastic cuts in maintenance budgets for our roads. Some Councils have front loaded these and some will reduce by a similar amount each year for a few years to come….and some will delay as long as possible in the hope that Government will relent. But I am guessing that the scares from Greece, Italy and now Spain will get us all used to the fact that austerity measures are a pill worth taking. Like Cod-Liver Oil, we definitely don’t like it but willingly take it and the alternative is even worse.
For my part, I see roads that are well maintained throughout the country and, having had the pleasure of travelling quite widely across the globe this year notice that our roads are up there with the best. In the US, roads are not as well maintained as we might imagine and in the Emerging countries, well…you can barely travel at an average of 40 MPH on an inter-state road!
So the reductions will prevail yet we do not want to let our standards slip. We love our roads and are starting to understand that they take large amounts of money to maintain and that maintenance is better than re-building. Will we see toll booths appearing more often along the Motorways? This is the pattern in some countries as the Toll
money pays for maintenance, with a few percent going to the Government…imagine, the HA self funded and giving the Government of the day a few million each month!
Last year we achieved a record in my locality of -19 degrees Celsius at 8.3o a.m. The berries say it will be worse and my suspicion is that the roads will suffer. Will there be money left in March? Will we see a mad rush of maintenance in April as the new year’s budget first becomes available as opposed to the mad rush in March to spend the budget in a “use it or lose it” panic!