WE’VE all been there, the moment you see the big road closed signs that make you want to pull your hair out. The dubious arrow you know is going to take you somewhere you really don’t want to go, and potentially leave you high and dry in the middle of an unfamiliar place. It does seem to have reached a new pinnacle with the closure of the road on the day of Tan Hill Swaledale Sheep show.

Of course the recriminations go back and forth about what signs were there and what they said. Fortuitously for Dales councillor John Blackie it came as he presented a report to the area committee outlining concerns and bugbears of the effects such road closures can have on communities, particularly remote ones. As the date of the work had been changed just three days in advance there was certainly confusion, and it’s hard to know who knew, who didn’t know and who should have known.

The committee's criticism of contractors and management companies who organise the signage is understandable, but again they have a job to do and County Highways have the unenviable task of trying to keep 6,000 miles of roads mended while not disrupting anyone. So hopefully it’s a good chance to concentrate all efforts on how to fix it. And what a surprise that largely it came down to communication, the essential ingredient to so many solutions. And in these times of instant connection, superfast broadband and inter-galactic emails it really shouldn’t be beyond the wit of the council and indeed the communities to work out a system. It’s already been suggested a database of major events be created, maybe with information on who to contact and who to tell. Sounds very straightforward, let’s hope it’s not a road to nowhere.