Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Are we really this stupid now?

Every couple of weeks I have to drive around the M25 to the M11 and back again. Where the M25 meets the M11 there is a tunnel called the Bell Common Tunnel which the Highways Agency have been making pretty with our money. Inside, the tunnel has lots of new lighting and, every so many yards, it has a sign like the one to the right underneath which it says how many yards (yes yards, not metres) the exit is in either direction.

This includes, within spitting distance of each opening of the tunnel (which is only 500 or so yards long (clockwise you can see the exit from the other end)) one of these signs saying the exits are either 500 yards away or.... 25 yards away.* Now, according to the Highways Agency, the work is to "upgrade the safety equipment in the tunnel to current European Standards".

So... is telling me that the 25 x 15 yard gaping hole with the sky and road in front of me is 25 yards away* a requirement under European safety standards and we've just done it in yards to annoy them?

Or... is it just the case that they fear being sued by a stupid person that decides to run the wrong way and complains that without the sign they couldn't possible know which exit was closest?

Note: I wish I could take a picture of the signs but I'm usually doing 50+ mph through it and can't exactly stop to take a tourist snap.

* The measurements are also undoubtedly wrong. The last sign says the exit is something like 25 yards away when it's so obviously less than 10 and more like 5 to any golfer or football fan.

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