Episode 10 A1: Britain's Longest Road


Episode 10

Documentary series following the people who work on the A1. A runaway van careers down an embankment, and police race to a multiple car crash near Newcastle.


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Transcript


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The A1 - Britain's longest road...

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..stretching almost 400 miles from the City of London

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to the heart of the Scottish capital.

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Connecting two nations and passing through 18 counties,

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it's an unrivalled highway

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used by hundreds of thousands of vehicles every day.

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We're going southbound down the A1,

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on the northbound carriageway.

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But not all journeys go to plan.

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I thought, "I am going to lose my life."

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Cars are coming close.

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It is a dangerous place to be.

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Lives can hang in the balance.

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The rear end of that vehicle is unrecognisable.

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This is actually the bodywork of the car.

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24 hours a day...

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It's not a safe place here.

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..there's a team of people who keep us safe from harm.

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The police...

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..response teams...

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We don't know whether we've got the road closed, or...

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We don't know what's happened.

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..and traffic officers.

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Keep going.

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Keeping Britain's most iconic road...

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-Get out!

-..on the move.

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Substantially damaged flatbed truck in lane two.

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The A1, the monster that it is, will start to return to normal.

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Coming up -

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a runaway van crashes down an embankment...

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-Police are all in the slip, so...

-We need to keep going.

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..and leaves the A1 in total gridlock.

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The race to get to a multiple crash near Newcastle.

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Injuries sustained in road traffic collisions

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are quite often life-changing.

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And transporting a luxury liner, the driver who's all at sea on the A1.

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We've missed our exit.

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Not good.

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At nearly 400 miles long,

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the A1 runs through country more diverse than any other British road.

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From the heart of London, it heads north, past Peterborough,

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Grantham and the industrial heartlands of Leeds and Newcastle.

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In all, it sees 18 counties

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before it finally ends in the city of Edinburgh.

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7:30am, rush hour, near Newcastle,

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and while thousands of commuters slowly edge their way to work,

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an emergency call means A1 patrol officer PC Alan Keenleyside

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needs to quickly jump the queue.

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At the moment, we're right at the start of

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morning rush hour on a Tuesday morning,

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two Celsius, we've got freezing fog.

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We've just had a report that the A1 is blocked southbound.

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But it's what's blocking the road which is worrying Alan -

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there's been a three-car pile-up in the fast lane and the potential

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for injuries is massive.

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A real priority here is to get to the scene, to assess any injuries,

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try to get this road opened as quickly as possible.

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My own personal fear is always the level of injury,

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that people aren't too badly injured. Cars can be replaced,

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vehicles can be replaced, people can't.

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Injuries sustained in road-traffic collisions are quite often

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life-changing and life-lasting.

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Alan's colleagues and firefighters are already at the scene.

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Two of the cars have crashed into each other in the fast lane,

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causing some serious damage, and a third vehicle, a silver Kia,

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has ended up 50 yards down the road.

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What we are looking at now is a collision, which is reasonably

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typical of rush-hour traffic.

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Three vehicles have been travelling in the fast lane.

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For some reason, the traffic has slowed in front.

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The Volvo has reacted to that, braking heavily.

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Then the Vauxhall Corsa brakes, pushing the Volvo forward

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into the third vehicle, which is a silver Kia.

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Minor damage to the Kia,

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quite significant damage to the rear of the Volvo and to the Corsa.

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Sometimes when you get brake fluid, oil, oil especially,

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it gets quite slippy, especially on a damp road surface,

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so we need to get some cleansing down as well.

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Business manager Lee Kerswell was driving his Volvo to his office

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in Durham when he collided with the car in front.

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I put my brakes on.

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The car just started to slide. I nudged him,

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and then all of a sudden there was a big impact from behind

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and the air bags and everything went off and then from there,

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everything started to go crazy.

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Lots of people, lots of blue flashing lights.

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Just glad everybody was OK, I think that's the first thing.

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It was quite an impact from behind.

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The car had gone underneath mine.

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The other car was being driven by hairdresser Kathleen Watson.

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I was just driving along, happily driving along, going to work.

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And the guy in front just put his brakes on

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and I slammed my brakes on, and the next minute, crashed, that's it.

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There was nothing...

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I couldn't see anything untoward that was wrong on the road.

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Just cannae believe it.

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Bit shocked, I'm shocked, just shocked...

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that it's happened.

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I've been driving for a lot of years and...

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..never had anything like this.

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Haven't even got a point on my license or anything.

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With no-one injured, Alan's priority is to clear the carriageway.

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Can I have the keys...?

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Is this yours, is it? Do you mind if I have a go at trying to start it?

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-Go for it.

-All right. It might do.

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And Alan's in luck.

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While the Volvo proves easy to move,

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there's little hope for Kathleen's car - it's a total write-off.

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Traffic's already stretching back six miles.

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And unless the car is moved, it could get a whole lot worse.

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With more than 90,000 vehicles ploughing around

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the city of Newcastle every day, accidents and jams are inevitable.

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More than 250 miles away, in East Anglia,

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our team's hoping their trip down the A1

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down to London is plain sailing.

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Broom have been building luxury cruisers for over 100 years.

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Hi, there. Very well, yourself?

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Today, Guy Girling and his crew are preparing their latest supermodel

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for one of the most significant exhibitions of the season -

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the London Boat Show.

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So, this is the boat that's actually going to London.

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This boat is fully specced up with a large engine,

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the latest electronic dash controls,

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and can be used equally at sea, but also on inland waterways as well.

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The UK leisure boat industry turns over a whopping £3 billion a year,

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and Guy's hoping showing of this high-spec model,

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worth a cool quarter of a million,

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will help generate plenty of future orders.

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Certainly the target of taking a boat to the Boat Show

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is obviously to sell it.

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In less than 24 hours' time,

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this 35-foot cruiser will be making its debut alongside 300 exhibitors

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at the show in London's Docklands.

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Move forwards, about a metre and a half.

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But delivering this seven-tonne load safely will need

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precision planning...

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Just come back a little bit.

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..as HGV driver Derek McLaren knows.

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Every boat's different. The technique is to get it as close as

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you possibly can... Come down a bit lower.

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..so it's low enough to miss possible bridges.

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And bridges aren't Derek's only restriction.

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There is a traffic ban for abnormal loads in London between 7am and 10am

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-on weekdays.

-Get that back over to the right.

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So his journey must be timed to perfection.

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Down altogether. Just come down on the front.

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That's it. We're there.

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Perfect.

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Before the boat can leave the yard, it has to be secured, and checked.

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The boat is now strapped down onto the truck, so it doesn't move left

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or right, back or forward, then the side support stands,

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literally holding the boat level.

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Obviously, accidents can happen, and they won't happen

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if you're safe and secure at this stage.

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They're like eggs, boats, aren't they?

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They certainly are.

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With his basket loaded, Derek and his fragile flotilla of one

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are ready to hit the road.

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Transporting the boat requires a specialist wide-load escort to

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travel with Derek for the entire 174-mile journey.

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Yeah, just get the bus and truck out of the way,

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then I'll start heading down.

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'See you round the corner, mate. No problem.'

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And with such an abnormal load,

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just getting out of Norfolk is a tricky business.

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We could be sat for quite a while sometimes.

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'All clear, mate, come round.'

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Okey dokey.

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Derek and his convoy team will have to negotiate a further 80 miles

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cross-country before they reach the A1 and head south.

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With 27 years' driving experience,

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Derek knows they are unlikely to cruise unhindered into the capital.

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It's a lottery, really. We can get traffic problems,

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we've got Christmas shoppers going around the North Circular,

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always busy this time of year.

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You never can tell.

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The slightest incident, it backs right up

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and then when you're sat there, you can be sat there for an hour.

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Derek's driven this route many times, but he has a strict timetable

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to stick to and can't afford any mistakes.

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Roger, we've missed our exit.

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I've looked at the sat nav, and thought, "Hang on a minute,

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"this isn't right."

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'That's what I was just thinking, you've gone wrong.'

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I was waiting for you to correct me.

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-So, I'm going to have to do an up-and-over and come back.

-'OK.'

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Not good.

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It's only a small detour,

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but with Derek already battling to stay on a tight schedule,

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it could prove costly.

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But his journey is just a tiny portion of the nearly seven billion

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miles travelled on the A1 every year.

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With such a massive volume of traffic pounding the road,

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there's an army of workers dedicating to keeping the A1

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in tiptop condition.

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These caretakers of the road turn their hand to everything -

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from picking up litter...

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..to driving a gritter.

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And when the A1 cracks under the pressure...

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-Ready?

-..they're there to smooth things over.

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In County Durham,

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one of these teams is clocking on for their morning shift.

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At their depot just off the A1,

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Joe Wafer and Kev Taylor are preparing to take on a job

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which only a tin of masonry paint can solve.

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Whether it's vandalism or urban art,

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graffiti along the A1 is a real problem,

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with scores of incidents reported to Highways England every year.

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Hi, Kelvin. Sure.

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And during his seven years in the job,

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Joe has developed a critical eye.

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Most of the time, it's like an art type thing,

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people putting designs on, as you will.

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We have had graffiti with,

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"Jill, will you marry me?" and things like that,

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which is great for them, but, you know,

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it's not every Jill that comes up the network is deciding whether

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they're going to get married or not(!)

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So, it doesn't matter what graffiti it is,

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it's all got to be removed or overpainted.

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What people see as just a harmless bit of paint could turn out to be,

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you know, time-consuming and expensive to remove.

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And their job today is a huge one.

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They're tackling this sprawling eight-metre long section of graffiti

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under a motorway bridge near Bowburn.

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It's been freshly daubed on, but it's about to get another coat.

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To be quite honest, I've got better things to do with my time than

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actually come to a bridge and paint it for two or three hours.

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It's just one of those things. They paint it, we come out

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-and paint over it.

-With Joe keeping an eye on the traffic,

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Kev gets to work with the masonry paint.

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For them, it's not just about getting rid of all the eyesores,

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but stopping accidents.

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We have to cover this up

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simply because the traffic that is passing,

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people tend to look at graffiti

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and they're obviously not concentrating on the road.

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So, we mask it off so it ends up grey and at a later stage,

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Highways England will bring in a company to remove it completely.

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There's a serious sense of deja-vu. This is the sixth time

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they've repainted this bridge in the last year.

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Personally, I think it's a waste.

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I think it's a waste of time, money and effort.

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It's their type of art. To me,

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I'd sooner see a canvas hanging up in a museum.

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Even though the artist has painted his piece in an area easy to reach,

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it's still a step too far for Joe.

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I'll do some of the top stuff.

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I've got me colleague with us today.

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Kev's nickname is "the giraffe", and he can reach the high bits.

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See, I can't reach up there, Kev.

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I've got a higher standard, you see. I do all the heights.

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Kev's wife has just been on the phone.

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He's got to do a painting job when he gets home.

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Apparently, your kitchen needs painting, Kev.

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It's obvious Joe doesn't know me.

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After an hour, Joe and Kev have managed to conceal the graffiti.

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But with slogans being repainted regularly,

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they know it's likely they'll be back here, removing them again soon.

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As you can see, it is time-consuming.

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But it's got to be done.

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And hopefully,

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we won't be revisited here for a while.

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Now that is a work of art. Nice and clear.

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That's a face of pride, that.

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That's one for Highways England.

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The boys are back.

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However, their next paint job isn't going to be as straightforward,

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and they'll definitely need a head for heights.

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Just a few miles up the road in Newcastle,

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PC Alan Keenleyside is still trying to reopen his section of the A1.

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A three-car crash in the morning rush hour is causing traffic chaos.

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With just one lane moving,

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Alan is trying to clear the vehicles

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and reopen the road as quickly as possible.

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Right now, we're probably looking at around about five to six miles of

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slow-moving traffic behind us.

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So we're really moving as quickly as we can to get this cleared.

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Business manager Lee Kerswell, who was caught up in the crash,

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has taken the brunt of motorists' anger.

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We actually got quite a few people shouting abuse out the window,

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obscenities and that, because obviously,

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we deliberately crashed this morning, that was the aim,

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to spoil everybody's commute to work.

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It's quite disappointing.

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You know, somebody could have been seriously injured.

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And that's the kind of attitude we were getting.

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With the smashed-up Corsa still blocking the fast lane,

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it's going to need a police 4x4 to shift it.

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It's clearly going to move, cos we've got the power

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in this to pull it. But we need to do it safely,

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make sure we're not going to get right across the road

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and then a wheel is going to fall off,

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or lose the brakes or the steering lock's going to come off,

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and we're going to end up with the police vehicle being damaged.

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While Alan stops the frustrated commuters one last time,

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the car is finally dragged off the carriageway.

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And it's a race to clean up and get the road back to normal.

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We need to look at bits like this - if a member of the public

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comes along in the hours to come, on a motorcycle...

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sees these bits, they might react to it, and if they react,

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could cause a collision.

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Right, that's it, we're ready to reopen.

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It's taken 20 minutes to clear the accident.

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Now Alan and fellow officers

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have to deal with the people involved in the crash.

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-Are you all right?

-Yeah.

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Part of this is making sure the drivers are breathalysed.

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I certainly don't suspect any of these drivers being impaired

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via alcohol or drugs, but in Northumbria,

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if you are involved in a road-traffic collision,

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you will be breathalysed as a matter of course.

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For the drivers caught up in the incident

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in sub-zero weather conditions,

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it has been a learning experience in more ways than one.

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It's a little bit chilly this morning.

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A good day not to have your coat with you.

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When you're defrosting your car, maybe it's a good thought to

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actually make sure you take your coat with you.

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Need to think that in future, always make sure there's a coat in the car.

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Traffic's finally flowing again past the scene,

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although the knock-on effects from this smash will ripple down the road

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for hours to come.

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That now, the A1, the monster that it is,

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will start to return to normal.

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Unfortunately, mornings like this

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will probably never fully recover from that incident.

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That backlog of traffic will remain in some form,

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but that's the harsh reality of it.

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One incident that's lasted 20-25 minutes has a knock-on effect

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for many, many hours.

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The average cost of a minor collision

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on the A1 is around £15,000.

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So this three car pile-up, which held up rush-hour traffic for

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almost half an hour, could easily run into the tens of thousands.

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Someone who is hoping not to incur any costly damages

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is luxury boat transporter Derek McLaren,

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who's halfway through his voyage from East Anglia to London.

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After a wrong turn, Derek and his quarter of million cruiser

0:20:220:20:26

have made it to the A1...

0:20:260:20:28

..but he's still got 80 miles to go.

0:20:300:20:32

He needs to drop anchor at the London Boat Show

0:20:350:20:37

in just two hours' time.

0:20:370:20:40

And if Derek misses his slot, sales exec Guy

0:20:440:20:47

will be left high and dry.

0:20:470:20:50

It's a fairly confined space when they're actually unloaded from

0:20:500:20:54

the lorries and, for ourselves, this year, we've got to be unloaded

0:20:540:20:58

at around about 10-11am.

0:20:580:21:00

If we don't make the slot, we basically don't get in the show.

0:21:000:21:04

It's nine o'clock now and we need to be there,

0:21:040:21:09

at the very latest, at 11:00

0:21:090:21:11

and I've got a rough ETA of 10:40.

0:21:110:21:14

So we haven't got a lot of leeway at the moment.

0:21:140:21:17

There will be over 100,000 potential customers at the show,

0:21:200:21:24

so missing their unloading window

0:21:240:21:26

would certainly scupper crucial sales.

0:21:260:21:28

Concerned about what obstacles may lie further along the road,

0:21:280:21:32

Derek checks in with Guy.

0:21:320:21:34

-Morning, Guy, it's Derek.

-'Hello, Derek, how are you?'

0:21:340:21:38

-We're on the move, Guy.

-'OK, we've just arrived.

0:21:380:21:42

'Traffic coming south was almost non-existent,

0:21:420:21:45

-'so there were no hold-ups whatsoever.'

-That's good.

0:21:450:21:47

So far, so good. But with only 20 minutes to spare,

0:21:470:21:52

the pressure is on.

0:21:520:21:53

Especially as the volume of traffic begins to build

0:21:550:21:58

as he edges closer to the centre of London.

0:21:580:22:01

We've got a truck coming past us at the minute, there.

0:22:040:22:06

Derek's reliant on his specialist escort

0:22:060:22:09

not only to help him negotiate the route,

0:22:090:22:11

but to keep an eye on the precious cargo.

0:22:110:22:14

I've got Roger, the pilot, in his van.

0:22:140:22:17

He's there probably as a warning to traffic coming up behind.

0:22:170:22:21

If anything untoward should happen,

0:22:210:22:24

trucks can sneak up and get too close, he's there.

0:22:240:22:27

Or like this situation in front of me now,

0:22:270:22:30

there's a truck in a lay-by.

0:22:300:22:32

-All right, Roger.

-Just go a little bit right, mate.

0:22:320:22:35

OK.

0:22:350:22:36

Stuff I can't see, he relays back to me and then I can drive accordingly.

0:22:430:22:49

Derek's leaving the A1 where it meets the M25.

0:22:530:22:57

But, unfortunately, he's greeted with an all-too-familiar sight.

0:22:570:23:02

There's a bit of traffic here, look.

0:23:020:23:04

Blimey. Got to be a bit careful with these wider loads.

0:23:050:23:09

It narrows down here, they come flying in.

0:23:090:23:12

Cars ain't too bad, but lorries...

0:23:140:23:17

they do get close to the boats.

0:23:170:23:19

Over at the exhibition centre...

0:23:280:23:30

..more than 400 boats are being carefully positioned

0:23:320:23:34

under a strict time schedule.

0:23:340:23:36

And the event planners won't allow for delays.

0:23:390:23:42

Got about 20 minutes.

0:23:460:23:48

20 minutes.

0:23:480:23:50

Back on the road, just as Derek starts moving again...

0:23:500:23:52

Jam further on.

0:23:520:23:54

-OK, mate. Cheers.

-..he's hit another hold-up.

0:23:560:24:00

Bit of a traffic jam now at the end of the 11.

0:24:000:24:02

It is a busy road down here.

0:24:040:24:06

Oh, dear.

0:24:060:24:08

This will make us late.

0:24:080:24:10

Nightmare.

0:24:100:24:12

Four hours' drive north is one of the busiest stretches

0:24:180:24:21

of the A1, near Newcastle.

0:24:210:24:23

The road here sees over half a million vehicles every week.

0:24:270:24:31

And it's down to traffic officers Peter Senior and Scott Wilson

0:24:320:24:36

to be in the right place at the right time.

0:24:360:24:38

For motorists travelling along the road,

0:24:540:24:56

a stray object can prove potentially deadly.

0:24:560:24:59

There's a possibility, if someone strikes it,

0:24:590:25:01

it could blow their tyres out, it could possibly throw it up

0:25:010:25:04

and strike another vehicle.

0:25:040:25:06

I've heard stories of the actual hook digging into the tyre

0:25:060:25:08

and then the strap wrapping round the axle.

0:25:080:25:11

Or wrapping on the wheel.

0:25:110:25:13

Unfortunately for Scott and Peter,

0:25:150:25:17

this latest item is right in the middle of one of the fastest-flowing

0:25:170:25:20

sections of the A1.

0:25:200:25:23

To remove it safely means they're going to have to stop the traffic.

0:25:230:25:27

You just find a gap, we'll go for it.

0:25:290:25:31

-Get it on now, mate.

-You ready?

-Yeah.

0:25:310:25:34

Lights and don't pass displayed.

0:25:340:25:37

Hotel, Alpha, Charlie, Lima, 4-1,

0:25:370:25:40

we've now implemented the block just adjacent to Washington services,

0:25:400:25:43

over.

0:25:430:25:45

For traffic officers like Peter and Scott,

0:25:450:25:47

the rolling road block is a well-rehearsed manoeuvre.

0:25:470:25:51

4-1, we've taken a position lane two.

0:25:510:25:54

We have full compliance.

0:25:540:25:56

Got traffic speed down to 5-0, over.

0:25:560:26:00

It allows them to slow the traffic down

0:26:000:26:02

and bring it to a halt just before the debris.

0:26:020:26:05

We've got control of the traffic, but we've still got to be

0:26:050:26:08

watching that traffic just to make sure no-one comes past.

0:26:080:26:11

Should anybody come past,

0:26:110:26:12

we'll take their details and that would be passed on,

0:26:120:26:15

because they're committing a road traffic offence.

0:26:150:26:18

Just need to get control of the traffic off this slip now,

0:26:180:26:21

which we've got. We'll let that van get away.

0:26:210:26:23

4-1, we've now got traffic at a stop.

0:26:270:26:29

Just going to remove the debris now. Stand by.

0:26:290:26:33

While Peter collects the lorry strap,

0:26:330:26:35

Scott watches his back to make sure no vehicles jump the block.

0:26:350:26:38

We'll be releasing it in a minute, mate. Won't be long.

0:26:380:26:42

When traffic's at its peak,

0:26:420:26:44

a road closure can cause a jam that builds out a mile a minute.

0:26:440:26:47

So it's important the debris is cleared as quickly as possible.

0:26:470:26:51

So, we'll just slowly run the traffic away now.

0:26:510:26:55

The debris is removed.

0:26:550:26:57

Traffic has been held up for only three minutes.

0:26:570:27:00

A small price to pay for keeping the A1 safe.

0:27:000:27:03

It just takes one person to panic and try to swerve to avoid that,

0:27:030:27:08

and it could cause a really serious incident.

0:27:080:27:11

Job well done. Job very well done.

0:27:110:27:13

Traffic officers like Peter and Scott pick up nearly 2,500 obstacles

0:27:160:27:21

from along the A1 every year.

0:27:210:27:23

It's a tiny part of the role they play,

0:27:240:27:27

but they still have their fair share of critics.

0:27:270:27:31

Certain people maybe haven't perceived us well.

0:27:310:27:35

Some celebrities have maybe mentioned us as Day-Glo Wombles,

0:27:350:27:39

-or whatever.

-Jeremy Clarkson.

0:27:390:27:41

If them people could come out with us and see what we did...

0:27:410:27:45

We don't just put cones out and close lanes for the fun of it,

0:27:450:27:48

or for practice. We're doing it for a reason -

0:27:480:27:51

to help people or to make something safe.

0:27:510:27:53

I believe he has been offered to come out on a patrol with us

0:27:530:27:57

and he declined.

0:27:570:27:59

It's good that we're having a busy shift, anyway.

0:28:000:28:03

It lets members of the public see that we do actually do something.

0:28:030:28:07

From stray animals to breakdowns and serious accidents,

0:28:110:28:14

traffic officers deal with more than 10,000 incidents

0:28:140:28:18

on the A1 every year.

0:28:180:28:21

With such an unpredictable job on the front line,

0:28:210:28:24

Peter and Scott know just how quickly things can change.

0:28:240:28:28

It's rush hour on the outskirts of Gateshead,

0:28:330:28:36

and reports are coming in of a major crash.

0:28:360:28:39

4-1.

0:28:390:28:40

1-1-3, yeah, received. We're just approaching junction 68 now,

0:28:490:28:52

so we should have eyes on very shortly, over.

0:28:520:28:54

Within seconds, they are on the scene.

0:28:580:29:00

The police are there, all on the slip, so...

0:29:000:29:02

He says it's crossing... Across the full carriageway.

0:29:020:29:05

-Of the...?

-Of the main carriageway, mate. Keep going.

0:29:050:29:08

A van driver has plunged down an embankment

0:29:120:29:15

and smashed into a lamp post,

0:29:150:29:18

the only thing that stopped him ploughing across the motorway.

0:29:180:29:21

He's being treated by paramedics for his injuries.

0:29:230:29:26

We can confirm that police and ambulance are on scene.

0:29:260:29:29

And with traffic already at a standstill,

0:29:310:29:34

Peter and Scott will be pushed to the limit

0:29:340:29:37

dealing with the aftermath.

0:29:370:29:38

Managing an incident like this can be fraught with danger,

0:29:470:29:50

but down the A1 in Durham,

0:29:500:29:52

even a simple cleaning job can mean risking life and limb.

0:29:520:29:56

Incident response workers Joe and Kev are continuing their crusade to

0:29:590:30:03

rid the A1 of unsightly graffiti.

0:30:030:30:06

It's a time-consuming and expensive job.

0:30:070:30:12

Right, A1 in, northbound, between junction 61 and 62.

0:30:120:30:15

This bridge has been riddled with slogans at every level.

0:30:150:30:19

And you can see, just by the graffiti,

0:30:200:30:23

we've got one on the wing wall, one on the wall itself,

0:30:230:30:25

one on the wall there and one up on the wing wall, there.

0:30:250:30:28

And there's actual graffiti on the bridge itself.

0:30:280:30:32

So, for him to do that,

0:30:320:30:34

he's either hung over the edge of the bridge

0:30:340:30:37

or he's leant out from the side.

0:30:370:30:39

It is dangerous, whichever way he's done that one.

0:30:390:30:42

They want to get rid of a tag left by a prolific artist.

0:30:440:30:47

But accessing it means going off-road.

0:30:500:30:53

And once there, Joe's using the graffiti artist's favourite tool

0:30:570:31:01

to blitz it.

0:31:010:31:04

Well, I've got a hold of the railings.

0:31:040:31:06

I've got a good hold on my feet, so I don't feel too bad.

0:31:060:31:09

I'm not frightened of heights, or anything.

0:31:090:31:11

We're never going to get it perfect,

0:31:110:31:13

but what we'll do is we'll just blot out as much as we can.

0:31:130:31:16

I mean, is it worth it?

0:31:160:31:18

But the next cover-up job is in an even more dangerous position.

0:31:230:31:26

Just metres from speeding traffic.

0:31:280:31:31

We're right on a bend.

0:31:320:31:34

Heavy traffic nine metres away from the lane.

0:31:340:31:37

It's very, very dangerous.

0:31:370:31:39

I mean, you can hear the traffic going past us now.

0:31:390:31:44

I mean, whoever has done this,

0:31:440:31:47

taking their life into their hands, to be fair.

0:31:470:31:50

A job like this needs teamwork and trust.

0:31:500:31:54

Start from here and work our way that way.

0:31:540:31:56

While Kev blitzes the graffiti, Joe acts as their eyes and ears.

0:31:590:32:04

If you don't have a lookout system, we've got nothing.

0:32:090:32:12

We won't know anything is happening until the last moment.

0:32:120:32:15

But if I've seen a car coming down the hard shoulder, I can tell Kev.

0:32:150:32:20

So, it's just like an early warning system.

0:32:200:32:24

If a vehicle is coming that way, you would head that way

0:32:240:32:26

and get round the corner as quick as you can.

0:32:260:32:28

Because these can be taken down.

0:32:280:32:30

They take a lot of strain, but you still get away,

0:32:300:32:34

because debris flies.

0:32:340:32:35

Just run the opposite direction to where the vehicle is.

0:32:350:32:40

But with the sun dropping fast,

0:32:400:32:42

the situation is growing riskier with every passing minute.

0:32:420:32:45

This is under the shade.

0:32:450:32:47

The drivers are coming from strong sunlight farther up the road,

0:32:470:32:50

so it's getting to the point of the day now where we don't really want

0:32:500:32:53

to be on a corner on a hard shoulder.

0:32:530:32:55

We've got a large load coming down the motorway now.

0:32:570:32:59

Luckily enough, he's moved across.

0:32:590:33:02

If he can't get across, his overhang might be into the hard shoulder.

0:33:030:33:07

Luckily enough, we're OK, there.

0:33:090:33:11

But this is the sort of thing that happens.

0:33:110:33:13

With the light too low to continue,

0:33:150:33:17

Joe and Kev will return tomorrow to finish the job.

0:33:170:33:20

But with dozens of cases a year to tackle,

0:33:250:33:28

their war on A1 graffiti goes on.

0:33:280:33:31

More than 260 miles south, on the outskirts of the capital,

0:33:380:33:43

time is ticking away for luxury boat transporter Derek McLaren.

0:33:430:33:47

This 35-foot luxury cruiser

0:33:500:33:52

is due to be delivered at London's ExCel exhibition centre

0:33:520:33:58

at 11 o'clock prompt.

0:33:580:33:59

But having been delayed twice, Derek's already ten minutes' late.

0:33:590:34:04

-Hello.

-Hello, mate.

0:34:050:34:07

-How are you?

-Yeah, we're just coming in now.

0:34:070:34:09

The organisers have given strict delivery time slots,

0:34:130:34:16

and could deny Derek entry.

0:34:160:34:18

We're here.

0:34:220:34:24

-Are they ready and waiting for us?

-They're ready for you.

0:34:250:34:28

-Right.

-They're not waiting for you.

-Right.

0:34:280:34:31

Fortunately for Derek, they've given him some leeway,

0:34:330:34:37

and he's given the green light to dock.

0:34:370:34:41

But that's not the end of today's challenging trip.

0:34:410:34:44

Now the delicate 250-grand cruiser needs to be squeezed onto its stand

0:34:440:34:50

between equally expensive boats.

0:34:500:34:52

The boat is basically swung into position.

0:34:570:35:00

It's fairly critical,

0:35:000:35:02

because you've got to get three boats in on that side,

0:35:020:35:05

on that actual side.

0:35:050:35:06

With £250,000 worth of luxury boat suspended in the air...

0:35:080:35:12

Whoa!

0:35:120:35:14

..there's no room for error.

0:35:140:35:16

-Yeah, it wants to come back to me a bit.

-Back to you again?

-Yeah.

0:35:160:35:20

-You tell us when.

-You won't get your boats in at that side.

0:35:200:35:23

You're really tight. That's it, there.

0:35:230:35:24

-Good.

-Yeah?

-Yeah.

0:35:240:35:26

-Bring it down, there. Go and put your blocks in, mate.

-Yeah.

0:35:260:35:29

During the show, potential buyers will be invited on the boat,

0:35:300:35:34

so the boats needs to be secured precisely.

0:35:340:35:37

Right, that's in the right place, so now, in under we go.

0:35:370:35:41

Let me know when to bring it down, mate.

0:35:410:35:43

-All right, fingers clear.

-Yeah.

-OK, down.

0:35:430:35:46

The important thing is to get the actual stand in the right location,

0:35:460:35:49

cos there's going to be a lot of people going on and off the boat

0:35:490:35:52

during the show. So, we've got to make sure we get the stands

0:35:520:35:54

right on the edge of the boat, which is the strongest bit.

0:35:540:35:57

After two and a half hours of tricky manoeuvring...

0:35:570:36:00

-Yeah, that's good.

-..the boat is finally in place.

0:36:000:36:04

Fully safe and sound. Ready for the show.

0:36:040:36:06

With over 100,000 visitors expected,

0:36:080:36:11

the prestigious London Boat Show is about to open its doors.

0:36:110:36:15

It's crucial Guy's supermodel not only impresses the browsers,

0:36:150:36:19

but generates sales, too.

0:36:190:36:22

Just got bloody filthy underneath that.

0:36:220:36:25

With Guy dusted down, the doors open.

0:36:290:36:32

And there's soon some interest in what he's got to offer.

0:36:340:36:38

So, with the 430, you've got option of a three-cabin layout as well,

0:36:380:36:42

haven't you? So, you can have the side cabin with two bunks in it,

0:36:420:36:45

and then a chaise longue across the back of the boat

0:36:450:36:47

with a separate toilet and the separate showers.

0:36:470:36:49

So, it gives you fantastic off-cabin facilities.

0:36:490:36:51

The ideal scenario obviously is that you get a customer

0:36:510:36:53

come along who says, "Yes, I want to buy a boat,"

0:36:530:36:56

-and pays quite a nice deposit.

-With the crowds increasing...

0:36:560:36:59

-Do you like what you see?

-I do, yes.

0:36:590:37:02

..there's another potential customer.

0:37:020:37:04

-Have that, again, anyway, so you've got that.

-Thank you again.

0:37:040:37:06

No problem at all. Why don't I scribble down your contact details

0:37:060:37:09

-myself, as well?

-Guy will spend the next ten days at the show,

0:37:090:37:13

showing off his model and the rest of the company's range,

0:37:130:37:16

which is all good for business.

0:37:160:37:18

-Thank you very much.

-Lovely to see you again.

0:37:180:37:21

It's been a relatively good day.

0:37:210:37:23

Steady flow of clients right through the day,

0:37:230:37:25

some of whom were getting closer to actual committing.

0:37:250:37:28

The model on display had a lot of interest as well.

0:37:280:37:31

This boat might be attracting interest,

0:37:330:37:36

but it won't be taking its maiden voyage just yet.

0:37:360:37:40

Instead, it will leave the glitz and glamour behind

0:37:400:37:43

and head the 170 miles back up the A1 to the boat yard.

0:37:430:37:48

From the thrall of the London Boat Show,

0:37:520:37:55

up in the north-east, there's a major emergency on the A1.

0:37:550:37:58

This van has careered down a grassy bank and smashed into a lamp post,

0:38:000:38:06

knocking it across two lanes of the road.

0:38:060:38:09

Traffic officers Peter Senior and Scott Wilson are battling through

0:38:110:38:15

the traffic to get to the incident.

0:38:150:38:17

We can position our vehicle in the middle of the road.

0:38:170:38:20

The traffic will make attempts to get out of our way and let us

0:38:200:38:24

filter through the middle. What you've got to be watching for now,

0:38:240:38:28

though, is the driver who doesn't see you coming.

0:38:280:38:30

A mile down the road,

0:38:320:38:34

police and firefighters are trying to work out how this van ended up in

0:38:340:38:38

such a bizarre position.

0:38:380:38:39

DISTANT SIRENS WAIL

0:38:390:38:41

Amazingly, motorcycle patrol officer Ian Scott was just metres away when

0:38:440:38:49

the van came plunging down the bank.

0:38:490:38:52

It started to come through the traffic.

0:38:520:38:54

As I was coming through, this white van just came down the slip,

0:38:540:38:57

hit the lamp post. It just blocked all three lanes off.

0:38:570:39:00

So, everybody just stopped.

0:39:000:39:01

It didn't actually clip any cars?

0:39:010:39:03

-No, it didn't.

-How lucky is that?

0:39:030:39:06

And at the time, this was three lanes of solid traffic,

0:39:060:39:08

so I don't know how the lamp post didn't hit anything.

0:39:080:39:12

Paramedics are treating the driver for his injuries.

0:39:120:39:15

Police don't know yet what caused the accident,

0:39:160:39:19

but it's already had a massive impact,

0:39:190:39:22

causing five miles of tailbacks.

0:39:220:39:24

With Scott and Peter now on the scene,

0:39:260:39:28

they've got to find a way of getting thousands of vehicles safely past.

0:39:280:39:32

The police have sorted the lamp post that was

0:39:370:39:39

across lanes one and two. We're going to move everything that is

0:39:390:39:42

currently in lane two into lane one,

0:39:420:39:44

so we can open lanes two and three, and help traffic keep flowing by.

0:39:440:39:48

Opening another lane should halve the problem.

0:39:520:39:55

So, now we've got two lanes of traffic available

0:39:550:39:57

for traffic to use.

0:39:570:39:59

It's just, they are a bit like sheep following each other at the moment,

0:39:590:40:02

they're just using lane three.

0:40:020:40:03

But once they've realised we've adjusted things,

0:40:030:40:06

they'll start dropping in.

0:40:060:40:07

We'll get a higher volume of traffic past the scene.

0:40:070:40:10

Scott is keen to discover just how the van has managed to end up in

0:40:120:40:15

such a bizarre position.

0:40:150:40:18

He appears to have gone up the V part where the two barriers are.

0:40:180:40:22

That's launched him in between the two posts.

0:40:220:40:25

I think he's been a bit lucky.

0:40:250:40:26

He only seems to have a cut on his nose,

0:40:260:40:28

and he's saying he's got a few neck problems now,

0:40:280:40:31

but it could've been a lot more serious than what it actually

0:40:310:40:33

appears to be at the minute.

0:40:330:40:35

It's been nearly an hour

0:40:370:40:38

since the crash brought the A1 to a standstill.

0:40:380:40:41

But finally, with the inside lane cleared,

0:40:450:40:48

Scott and Peter can fully reopen the road.

0:40:480:40:51

Hotel, Alpha, Charlie, Lima, 4-1, to Charlie, Tango, 4-1.

0:41:030:41:06

You can release the block. Our ETM's been taken in

0:41:060:41:08

and we've left the scene, over.

0:41:080:41:10

The stranded van will be dealt with later by a recovery team.

0:41:110:41:15

It's been a busy and varied shift for the pair,

0:41:170:41:20

which deserves a reward.

0:41:200:41:22

So, that was a job that we weren't expecting on a Friday, Pete.

0:41:240:41:28

I think it's about time for a kebab to get my fitness levels back up.

0:41:280:41:32

Get them calories back into you.

0:41:320:41:34

Peter's donner is going to have to be delayed, though,

0:41:340:41:37

because even at the end of the busiest shifts,

0:41:370:41:40

the routine jobs still need doing.

0:41:400:41:42

They way we work as a team, you know, it's all down to teamwork.

0:41:440:41:47

Scott does the washing and I just have a look

0:41:470:41:49

to make sure he's done it right.

0:41:490:41:52

It's cos I'm still younger, that's what it is.

0:41:520:41:54

I don't want him to wear himself out.

0:41:540:41:56

I should be getting carers' allowance.

0:41:560:41:58

-For doing all this.

-Oh, cheers(!)

0:41:580:42:02

No, youngest always cleans the car.

0:42:020:42:04

I know I look a bit younger than him, but...

0:42:040:42:06

SCOTT LAUGHS

0:42:060:42:08

The van driver was later questioned by police,

0:42:150:42:18

but no further action was taken.

0:42:180:42:20

The luxury cruiser made its way safely back up the A1,

0:42:220:42:26

having done its job, securing over £500,000 worth of orders.

0:42:260:42:31

And after returning to the bridge for a second day,

0:42:310:42:34

Joe finally covered up all of the graffiti.

0:42:340:42:37

Hopefully, I won't be back again.

0:42:370:42:40

Next time -

0:42:400:42:41

a serious smash on a busy A1 junction...

0:42:410:42:44

Paramedics are indicating a possible serious head injury.

0:42:440:42:46

We're going to have to drag this vehicle clear of the barrier.

0:42:460:42:50

..leaves the driver's life hanging in the balance.

0:42:500:42:53

Ready to move when you want.

0:42:530:42:55

Will treacherous weather hamper an emergency road repair?

0:42:550:42:58

As you can see ahead, the mist is coming in quite quickly.

0:42:580:43:01

We could have low fog on the carriageway.

0:43:010:43:04

And the perils of transporting a priceless piece of art.

0:43:040:43:07

It's not working.

0:43:090:43:10

A runaway van causes gridlock when it careers down an embankment, police race to a multiple car crash near Newcastle, and there is a battle to deliver a luxury liner to the London Boat Show on time.


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