Two short lengths of road are about to open at a combined cost of £1bn. They represent a last hurrah for expensive road projects in an era of cost-cutting.
At a time of austerity, the idea of spending more than half a billion pounds on a five-mile stretch of road might seem strange to some. But the M74 extension is about to open in Glasgow at a cost of £657m, which works out at £131m per mile or £75,000 a yard (£80,000 a metre).
Go on, try and find an article anywhere on the BBC where a writer talks about the idea of spending billions on HS2 as "strange".
The most expensive road per mile is the Limehouse Link. The 1.1 mile (1.8 km) tunnel in London's Docklands opened in 1993 at a cost £293m. Adjusted for one measure of inflation that would be £445m or £230,000 per yard (£250,000 per metre). It was designed and built in seven years and at the time was the second biggest engineering project in Europe after the Channel Tunnel.
"It was almost insane," says Sir Peter Hall, Bartlett professor of planning at University College London. "But Margaret Thatcher would stop at nothing to get the Isle of Dogs developed." The price tag can be explained by the fact it had to avoid other tunnels and a river basin and incorporate a junction within the tunnel.
Ah yes, the left's favourite old witch. You can use words like "insane" around Thatcher. Of course, the Jubilee Line extension had to do similar things and cost 10 times more, but no-one's calling Blair that.
The advent of the road protest movement - personified by Swampy at the Newbury bypass protests of the 1990s - showed that attitudes had changed. Governments saw roads as potentially controversial and took seriously the arguments against.
Sadly, because they believed that somehow, a few NIMBYs and swampies actually represented the people. I remember what it was like going from Oxford to Portsmouth pre-Newbury bypass, and the word "insanity" summed up what you had. About 60 miles of dual-carriageway on the major link between the midlands and the south, with a bottleneck of about 2 miles in the middle.
People still like roads. The numbers spell this out.
Nowadays the motorway is more likely to be associated with long tailbacks than speed, as summed up by Chris Rea's song about the M25: "This ain't no upwardly mobile freeway, oh no, this is the road to Hell."
More leftist anti-road propaganda. The fact is that while the M25 ain't perfect, I've actually tried the alternatives like the North Circular (for a laugh) and, I would never go back on it.