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Making A Drama Out Of A Crisis?

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TL; CBA TR my intro? Jump to the link and the section beyond.

I had what I regard as quite a lucky escape today. After a 4-day break with friends and family at Elveden CentreParcs (which I mainly spent engrossed in a Jeeves and Wooster omnibus edition) we were booted out of our little home in the forest at 10am. My brother and his wife decided to go for one last swim with their daughter; the other couple present fancied a bit of sightseeing and a pub meal in the local area, and I, being in many ways a spectacular bore, didn't really fancy anything other than possibly a little excursion up to the Mid-Norfolk Railway. Having used CPs' free wi-fi to establish on my phone that they probably weren't running at all today, and that if they were there wouldn't be any diesel locos involved (I am quite specific in my train-spotting tastes), my wife and I decided to just head home. The ongoing works to make the A11 dual-carriageway for more of its length caused a slight delay, but 30 mins after departure we were on the good bit of the A11, and I hardly interfered with the cruise control at all until well past Stansted Airport on the M11. But then the overhead gantries started reporting that the M11 was closed between J7 and J6. The road was still pretty empty, but I asked my wife to get the sat-nav out of the glovebox to be on the safe side. As I was switching it on we rolled past J8 with the road still clear as a bell.

I pressed on with increasing apprehension, but the road was still clear. Then the gantries became increasingly alarmist, until they started reporting a queue ahead. Sure enough, we finally hit it about half a mile later. My experience of motorway closures where everyone is forced off the road is that there's not much to be chosen between the three lanes, and there's no profit at all in trying to take the morally correct position of getting in the correct lane from the off, so I hit the outside one and scooted past another 400 yards of traffic queueing in the inside lane. When I finally ground to a halt I informed the sat-nav via its road blockage function that there was to be a change of plans, and found I was 400 yards from J7. When the lanes inside of me started obviously moving quicker I shimmied across, and it was probably only another 10 minutes before I was on the J7 exit slip. Ridiculously, despite the road being closed, there were no police present on the motorway at that point at all, and there were plenty of people in the outside lane prior to the slip road just sitting there making no attempt at all to leave the motorway! 100 yards past the slip people were standing about in the road asking each other what was going on. Anyway I'll cut to the chase at this point- we travelled about 2 miles down the minor road off the J7 roundabout that the sat-nav had suggested at 5-10mph (because of all the other M11 refugees) before I got fed up with that, had a brief look at google maps, and decided to strike out on my own. I busted a left onto an empty road, and after a couple of stops in lay-bys and an impromptu pub lunch it wasn't that long before we were back on the M11 south of the M25; we were no more than 90 minutes late home, and that included the lunch stop. I still had time after we'd unpacked to take the car for an MOT, which it passed with no advisories thanks to my successful wheeze of leaving my Bluetooth OBD-Key plugged in and then hitting "Clear All Fault Codes" in Torque on my phone every 30 seconds (the post-cat Lambda is knackered, which keeps illuminating the engine management light) :D .

Anyway, I gathered from texts my wife received that the other couples on the holiday hadn't been so lucky with the delays on the M11, so I had a look for what had closed it:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-essex-24302005

http://www.harlowstar.co.uk/News/Harlow-news/UPDATE-M11-between-Harlow-and-M25-to-stay-closed-till-8pm-following-accident-20130927171157.htm

http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/432693/M11-cooking-oil-spill-causing-five-hour-delays-for-drivers-on-weekend-rush-home?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+daily-express-news-showbiz+%28Daily+Express+%3A%3A+News+%2F+Showbiz+Feed%29

According to the Harlow Star the road is still closed as I type this, an hour after I started this post!

So the point of this post is basically: You Wot? I mean I understand that you can't have people driving over an oil slick at 70mph, but surely the solution to a 200 litre oil spill is to have someone turn up with 500 rolls of kitchen towel, a job lot of swarfega, and a big hose? Why does it matter that 60 litres of cooking oil have entered a watercourse? I could understand if it was, say, Hexavalent Chromium or Ammonium Sulphate, but a bit of edible oil?! :blink:

I've already stated that I was distinctly unimpressed that there was no police presence directing cars up the slip at J7 a good 40 minutes after the road was closed (I reckon I got there about 12.15). But as per one of the links, why are the police posting nonsensical tweets about driving up slip roads being illegal?! :rolleyes:

Any experts on policing, road surfaces, or water courses here able to enlighten me on why a major road has had to be closed for 14 hours and counting because of what IMO is a fairly trivial incident? Or am I right in thinking that we've become a laughable shambles of a country? :rolleyes:

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Try driving down the other side of the M11 southbound from Bishops Stortford. For months now there have been 50mph signs (non-enforceable as they are not restrictions just a "suggestion") because of "damaged road surfaces".

Well, repair the bloody damaged surfaces then.

The best ones are signs they had/have on the M25 which say "Delays possible until 2015" or similar.

Now I don't know this but I'd be willing to bet they don't put up signs in Germany stating there will be delays for *years*.

As regards the time taken to clear the motorway following issues/accidents, the only explanation I can think of for this is that the Police can claim overtime so they're not in much of a hurry.

I've always thought that if it comes to a decision about whether to spend two hours taking photos and drawing diagrams of the layout of all the crashed cars, or just getting the road open again, the latter ought to win by default because the former is more dangerous and likely to create even more accidents.

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They had to close a big chunk of the M4 near Newport a few years back. There had been an accident and a lorry carrying some kind of oil was damged and the M4 got closed.

They had to tear up the surface and lay down a new one.

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The last two times i have been on a motorway, they have closed it for hours. This is becoming quite common.

next time you're about to use one can you please add another post on here, I hate sitting in queues...

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