From the Evening Boris/Ken/Oona*

London‘s transport bosses have pledged to consign to history the “roadworks hell” that has plagued drivers this year with a radical package of measures.

Haven’t we been here before?  From 2008:

A scheme to keep London’s traffic moving was unveiled by Boris Johnson today as Thames Water agreed to slash the number of road closures.

Under the deal between the water firm and the Mayor pilot schemes will be conducted to find ways of keeping routes open even while work is going on.

Thames Water’s work to replace Victorian water mains with plastic tubing is one of the biggest causes of congestion in the capital.

The deal was, if you recall, that Thames Water got the green light for their desalination plant in return.  The plant opened earlier this month.  The roadworks are still causing chaos, so I think we know who came out of those negotiations better.  Boris is on record a couple of time saying he underestimated the difficulty of dealing with roadwork congestion, which is a bit more honest than usual and shows that we were pretty much spot on originally saying that he was being overoptimistic if he thought that he could make a significant difference by merely tackling the roadworks – you need to tackle the traffic too, and that takes political courage rather than two years of PR flannel followed by an admission that it didn’t work out, but don’t worry, we’ll get it right this time, with such radical initiatives as:

The creation of a new 300-strong squad of “roadworks snoopers” reporting dangerous or unmanned works to TfL. This will be made up from existing teams of traffic enforcement officers and London Buses’ network traffic controllers.

So Boris’s big relaunch boils down to giving the people at the sharp end more work but no more resources.  Typical Boris, as is this:

The measures are outlined in an internal paper [PDF], titled Minimising Disruption from Roadworks, drawn up for TfL’s Surface Transport Panel, which shows how “media criticism” led by the Evening Standard at the time helped prompt the action.

He’s still waiting for the media to tell him how to do his job after two years, then?  Still, there are probably very few technical measures you can take to avoid the event that snarled up West London last week, other than reducing traffic.  Some works are unplanned and unavoidable.

* It’s hard to be sure these days, to be honest

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