Thursday, 15 March 2007

Diversion problems

On Tuesday evening I had to go to a meeting at Mary Tavy, a village on the A386 about 4 miles north of Tavistock. Coincidentally a juggernaut had turned over at a bridge between Tavistock and Mary Tavy that morning. I'm pleased to say that there were no fatalities. However listening at home to the radio we were told that the road was blocked in both directions and it became evident that the lorry would take some time to be recovered.

I had arranged to be picked up in the village as parking at our ultimate destination was very limited. Being aware that we would be diverted I had looked at the OS map to check out the alternative route we would have to take; this was just as well as Esmond was unaware of the accident and didn't know the intricacies of the diversion. I was able to advise him so that we got to Mary Tavy without mishap. It was a route which I had used in the past which helped me to give the correct directions but I was glad to have viewed the map beforehand all the same.

When a major route has to be closed to traffic then the signposting of an alternative becomes a nightmare in our two counties with the country lanes being far too narrow for commercial traffic. Our committee chairman, approaching from the south, followed the signed diversion which took him many miles to the north. He was unaware of the accident or its location. Luckily he had his mobile with him and contacted us from which we ascertained he was about 12 or so miles too far north and confronted with a road closed sign. We were able to reassure him that he could drive round the barrier and with an empty road was able to join us in a short time.

It is a real dilemma for the police and highways department to sensibly sign these diversions and it does show how useful a mobile phone can be when out in the car (only used when you are parked up of course). We risked going home via the main road by which time both lorry and police had gone. Although the road traffic report I heard earlier in the evening suggested the road might be reopened by 7 o'clock (shortly before we would arrive there) it does take time for highways to remove the diversion signs when they are spread out many miles apart. Quite a logistical problem!

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