Saturday, April 5, 2008

The Sad Tale of the extra lane of the A-1 Highway

Not to prejudice you at the start, but this is possibly the greatest tale of stupid bureaucracy I have ever heard.

The Netherlands A-1 highway _ the name says it all _ has suffered from massive traffic jams for years. So finally the government decided to build an extra lane.

People who lived nearby had sued to prevent it from being built _ and lost. However, once it was built, environmentalists sued to prevent it from being used _ and won.

Or so it seemed, after a Council of State (high court) ruling four years ago.

However, last week *somebody* from the court called the Transport Ministry to say: "I think there's been a little mistake."

It turns out the ruling had actually said that as long as people didn't drive faster than 80kph on the lane, it could be used.

But it was worded in such a confusing manner that everybody drew the opposite conclusion _ and the judges involved apparently never bothered to point out that the ruling had been misinterpreted.

Until, presumably, one of them found himself stuck on the A-1 and gazing longingly at that unused lane.


I'm testing a new thing called "Twingly." Story about it here, toward the bottom.

Article in Dutch.

UPDATE: it works! that Dutch article linked back to this blog. I'll be curious whether I get any hits...

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