My wife, Sandra, our dog, Gertrude, and I have just endured the most awful journey home from Netley, where we pick up our grandchildren from school, to Bedhampton.
We joined the M27 at junction 8. This is not an easy thing to do as the roundabout beneath this junction has no yellow hash markings so the entrance to the motorway slip road is always blocked by the Hamble traffic.
The motorway traffic was at a virtual standstill, mostly caused by the 40mph signs which are always on in the early evenings.
The usual cause is congestion at the Whitley junction (No 7).
When you pass this, the traffic normally picks up speed, regardless of the persisting 40mph signs, like a cork out of a bottle.
On this particular evening, the causes of the 40mph limit were firstly salt spreading. Why on earth would you be out spreading salt while the ‘rush three hours’ are in progress? Anyhow, there was little sign of this actually happening apart from a parked salt spreader lorry on the hard shoulder.
The next sign reported an obstruction, and the next showed the outside lane closed (which it was not, but everyone was changing lanes for this anyway).
Then, at the next sign, we went back to obstruction and finally end, i.e. normal 70mph. By the time we were about two miles east of Whiteley, the entirety of the traffic had sped up to 70mph anyhow, ignoring the obvious lies being peddled on the traffic signs.
The basic problem is that the M27 is overloaded (thanks to the constant development drive in this area).
That said, the situation is not helped by signs that deliberately slow the traffic when it would all work much better if drivers were left to make judgments determined by the road conditions.
This automatic imposition of 40mph seems to me to be ritualistic, not based on any evidence.
There was no sign of salt spreading or an obstruction on this occasion – I assume the people in the control room had nodded off.