Boris Johnson has admitted that he may have bitten off more than he can chew with the unstoppable behemoth of London's seemingly ceaseless roadworks.
After his rant about the 'endless craters' in the roads, the introduction of fines for over-running work and a permit scheme designed to co-ordinate roadworks - something which seemed so simple yet previously impossible for anyone to implement - one would think that London's roads would be well on their way to flowing with a never-seen-before smoothness unimpeded by orange cones or unattended holes. Not so. The unusually cold winter has delayed things, along with Thames Water repairs and the mayor is realising that it might not be quite as easy as he first thought.
Surprisingly, Boris takes his cue on this from Labour and plants responsibility for the chaotic roadwork calendar squarely in Margaret Thatcher's court, blaming privatisation of utilities and the granting of carte blanche to utilities companies to dig holes at will. He estimates that a whopping 300,000 holes are dug every year, causing 36% of traffic delays and anyone who's had the need to drive in London can attest to the wasted time and sheer frustration caused.
Roads have been one of Boris's bugbears; he pledged a number of improvements including rephrasing of traffic lights, removing speed bumps and allowing motorcycles in bus lanes. It's not just motorised road users on the receiving end either; left turn on red and two-way cycling on one way streets have been proposed to encourage cycling in the capital.