“The road to hell”, “hell on earth”, “a living nightmare” – those are just a few of the colourful descriptions used by drivers to describe the experience of using the M62 motorway in West Yorkshire at the best of times. The £150 million programme to open up the hard shoulder as an extra lane is designed to ease the congestion – as a cheap alternative to a full road-widening scheme that, at one time, was envisaged as creating an eight-lane motorway section with a hard shoulder as well.
It’s hard not to see the current roadworks as too little too late as the combination of reduced lanes and the everyday plethora of breakdowns and collisions brings the M62 to a grinding halt. Figures obtained by this newspaper show that there have been more than 1,500 breakdowns and 138 collisions in the last year between junctions 25 and 27 alone.
We don’t need to tell those readers who use the M62 on a regular basis just what misery can be caused by hours lost sitting in a queue of traffic that hardly moves as the obstruction is cleared. To add insult to injury, many local businesses complain that they are losing thousands of pounds as vehicles sit paralysed, with goods being delivered late and runs being cancelled because vans and trucks are not available.
Those who were so keen to prevent the full widening scheme on environmental grounds might do well to consider the fact that cars and lorries churning out engine gases as they sit in queues do far more damage to the atmosphere than vehicles on the move.