Election Result Raises Hopes of Better Roads
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THE apathy shown by Governments towards roads in this country was largely because they were not an electoral issue, Mr. Wilfred Andrews, chairman of the Roads Campaign Council, said at a press conference in London last week.
It was hoped, however, that the stability provided for the present Government by the results of the General Election would help to secure better roads.
Mr. Andrews had just returned from a four weeks' study of roads in the United States, where a vast programme of road development has recently been announced.
11,332m. Spent in a Year The United States had 62m. motor vehicles, said Mr. Andrews, and by 1965 they expected to have 81m. Last year they spent £1,332m. on new roads and major improvements, or 56 per cent. of their road taxation.
President Eisenhower, who, last year, said that the American road system was inadequate and obsolete, and needed immediate and urgent improvement, called in September for a report on the nation's highway needs and for a programme of road development to be carried out over the next 10 years.
This report was delivered to the President less than five months later and, if it was accepted by the Senate, would cost £36,000m. Present expenditure, if continued at the same rate, would account for about L17,000m.. leaving £19,000m. to be provided.
One recommendation had been that as the roads were a capital asset, bonds should be raised by a Federal Highway Commission, which would pay for the administration, research and planning. Thus American road engineers would be able to plan their work in advance, confident that the necessary money was available.
Grants Uncertain In Britain, annual grants were made and, because of the uncertainty, the more costly projects were kept in the background.
In 1946, the British Government announced a plan to build 800 miles of new roads and to modernize 1,700 miles of'r existing trunk roads, but the plan was shelved the following year.
Last year, Britain spent £7m. on new roads and major improvements, or less than 2 per cent, of road taxation. In this country no searching inquiry had been held to examine the needs of our highway network.
The present Minister of Transport had constantly turned down pleas for work to be done because, he said, the money was not available. This year, the British Government would spend the equivalent of 5d. in every £1 of road taxation on new roads and major improvements. Then they would say they could not afford more.
D4 "Note the difference in approach between the two countries," said Mr. Andrews. ln the United States there was a sense of urgency and drive in planning and execution.
Referring to the rail strike, Mr. Andrews said it had given a frightening picture of what road conditions would be like in the near future. The chaotic mess around London during the strike would be an everyday feature of our life in a few years.
NEW TYRE FOR ROUGH ROADS
THOROUGHLY tested under 1 colonial conditions, a new tyre known as the Roadster has been introduced by the Dunlop Rubber Co., Ltd.
It is specially designed for use on heavily cambered and winding roads with flint, gravel or abrasive surfaces. It is claimed that if the tread is cut, the damage will not extend. Bead construction has been improved.
GEARBOX FACTORY MOVED
THE automobile gearbox division of David Brown and Sons (Huddersfield), Ltd., has been removed to a new factory beside the main works at
Lockwood, Huddersfield. A total of 133 machines, each weighing up to 12 tons, was moved, including a Hydras production gear hobber, a high-speed automatic machine for the rapid manufacture of heavy-vehicle gears.
The new factory has a floor area of 44,000 sq. ft.
HELP-MATE PRICE UP
THE price of the Help-Mate batteryelectric vehicle produced by Helecs Vehicles, Ltd., 77 Baker Street, London, W.1, has been increased from £595 to £660 because of higher production costs. Mr. N. Eiindle, managing director, has obtained an American order worth $100,000 for Helecs Transmutor control equipment.
LW. SPRING CONFERENCE
A SPRING conference is to be held ('1 for the first time next year by the Institute of the Motor Industry. It will take place from March 9-11, at the Welcome Hotel, Stratford on Avon.