DOZY’S RAMBLES: Use of technology could have avoided census chaos

Mike Mendoza
Mike Mendoza

I have imagined a group of men in suits sat around their nice desks in their ivory tower situated at County Hall in Chichester.

Everyone was tasked with coming up with an idea to find a way to bring about maximum congestion and annoyance to the good people of Adur.

Another task was to find a way to waste as much money as possible.

This money, of course, would come from the council taxpayers.

Once again, this task involved as much annoyance and bewilderment to the locals in Adur.

One of the men from the Highways department said: “I have a great idea, let’s hold a census that would bring a massive area to a halt and let’s make sure this census is held during the rush hours.”

Another of the men said: “That is a really good idea, bearing in mind the total chaos that is caused near Lyons Farm on the A27, where three lanes suddenly go into two lanes and then one, it would work.”

The first man says: “Okay, I suggest that the census should be held on the A27 just past the airport turn off, we will cone off two lanes and funnel everyone into one.”

This was greeted with thunderous applause from all present, plus a lot of laughter.

“Can you imagine the total confusion we will bring to thousands of motorists on this, one of the busiest roads in the county?” says another man in a suit; again a lot of laughter greeted his comment.

The man in an even bigger suit, who apparently is the boss, joins in and says: “I love where you are coming from. Now, just to add to the chaos, confusion and congestion, we will hold this census over several days, but we won’t divulge which days we will do it, just in case the naughty motorist decides to take a detour.”

So it came to pass that the Highways Agency set up their roadblocks and cheerily greeted the thousands of motorists who were directed by a nice policeman to take part in this crucial plan.

Not only did the A27 come to a total standstill from Hove to Lancing, but also along the A259 and the Old Shoreham Road, where a 15 minute journey would take up to one and a half hours!

Fortunately Tim Loughton MP had words with the ‘powers to be’ and the census was stopped.

Now I am not much of a techno wiz, but I am sure in this modern day and age there are other ways to find out where motorists have come from and going to.

We do have number plate recognition now.

This form of technology can tell the authorities who owns the car, where they live, if it has tax and insurance plus an MOT.

So why, at great cost and maximum annoyance to all involved, did the authority revert to clip boards, pen and paper?

Part two is almost as daft as part one.

Once again the men in suits came up with a gem of an idea: “Lets resurface the Upper Shoreham Road, and a few roads off it. We will close off the Upper Shoreham Road at night, make as much noise as possible and resurface the whole area.”

Well it didn’t quite work like that, despite all the advance notice signs and illuminated traffic advisories in place.

After the first night, local residents awoke (eventually, after all the noise) to find that the road had not been resurfaced, but a patchwork of varying sizes of tar had been placed across the road in various places!

On Monday, June 29, the night closure became a day closure with several sets of lights in place, thus bringing total chaos, yet again, to the area.

Again only parts of the road were resurfaced along with the lay-bys. Why?

Surely in the long term it would have been far better to have a total resurface of the road.

The men and the equipment were in situ; I would have thought it a lot easier to do the entire road instead of little patches.

I am dreading that, when the bad weather begins with frost and snow, this will cause potholes and possibly wear away the joins.

Hopefully the highways people have had their laughs now and will move on to find ways of upsetting other communities in a different area.

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