Friday, January 22, 2016

Route barree et deviation

French Village Diaries route barrée déviation travel road trips France
Route Barrée, the yellow sign of doom!
The yellow signs that strike fear and dread in the mind of any motorist trying to get anywhere in France, Route Barrée (road ahead closed) and Déviation (diversion). Depending on the work being carried out these déviations can last many months and depending on how rural the location, can add many kilometres onto your journey.

French Village Diaries route barrée déviation travel road trips France
Route Barrée, road closed ahead, turn back now!
If you are lucky the signage will be clear and continual to enable you to return to your original route. However it is just as likely you will find yourself in the middle of nowhere, a fair distance from where you are trying to get to, with no idea which way to go and no yellow sign to assist you. The suitability of the diversion route can also vary from adequate, but often lengthy, to a shorter more direct route using nothing more than farm tracks, designed for heavy tractors, but not heavy traffic.

French Village Diaries route barrée déviation travel road trips France
Déviation, diversion this way

We, unfortunately, have an absolute cracker of a diversion to cope with at least three times a week for the next five months. Our local town, which sits between our village and the larger town where Ed is at lycée, is having major drainage works that have effectively cut all access from the west and the north. The council have tried to put into place a number of diversions, but no matter which one I’ve tried the end result has been stress and we’re only two weeks in. I’ve found myself facing a no entry sign on a route I thought was a diversion. I’ve found myself forced into the muddy verge on numerous occasions with the brake pedal thumping under my foot as the ABS kicks in and the car slips and slides in the mud. The car is now mud brown rather than shiny silver and I’ve developed a severe case of déviation rage. I swore (to myself) when a huge construction lorry, going the wrong way on a one-way diversion, forced me into the grassy verge. I squealed like a girl when a school bus squeezed past me on a single track on a dark and sleety morning, cursing the fact we are soft parents who have made it a habit to drive Ed in on a Monday, even if it is a two-bus journey, in the cold and dark with a school bag and suitcase to cart along too.

We have now found our own route. It may be a little longer and further off our original route, but it is at least a real road rather than a muddy track and there is less traffic on it to get in my way and force me off the road. I’m not sure my stress levels would have coped with five months on the other route.