So get ready for another round of the great motorway strategy shuffle, as the Government performs (another) about face and decides that the much-needed improvements to various bits of the road network aren't going to happen after all.

_Y8F8970 It's barely a month since we were being told that major investment in infrastructure was one of the main ways that HMG was going to try and help the beleaguered construction industry to ride out the recession.

Now Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon has announced that planned widening for parts of the M6, M62 and M60 has been iced.

Coming less than a week after Heathrow's third runway was green-lit does nothing to disperse the clouds of contradiction that hang over this one, especially as Hoon's argument is that he's saving large chunks of the country from being covered in tarmac.

And I'm not falling for the line that 'hard shoulder running' is just as good as sticking on an extra lane. It's not - it's a cheap, nasty system, and one that rewards bullies who push to the front at every junction.

The state of the M6 between Birmingham and Manchester is a national disgrace - it's a motorway that hasn't seen any substantial upgrades since it was built.

IMG_2549 On Friday nights and Monday mornings it can take up to three hours to travel the 75-odd miles between Warrington and Walsall in either direction.

A few years ago the plan was to extend the M6 Toll further north, which would have had benefits even for those not prepared to fork out for travelling in splendid isolation. Then that became the more rational solution of widening the existing carriageway (possibly with 'high occupancy vehicle' lanes). And now - nothing.

Oh, apart from the by-product of the much-vaunted 'Active Traffic Management' that will police the hard-shoulder running: the ability to introduce traffic speed enforcement by the back door over hundreds more miles of our motorway network.