OUR region can boast of many wonderful things but the quality of its road network is not one of them.

Motorists who have attempted to drive during rush hour from Teesside to Newcastle Airport for example, or cross Darlington town centre around 5pm, have discovered that our infrastructure bends almost to breaking point when it is placed under any sort of pressure.

We are paying the price for successive governments’ underinvestment in Britain’s roads. Short-sighted planning and half baked schemes are also to blame.

The north has suffered more than any region from a stop-start approach whereby ministers and local authority chiefs have talked about grand road improvement schemes but failed to deliver on their promises. When money has been made available the lion’s share has been gobbled up by London and the South-East.

It is pleasing therefore to hear that cash, even relatively modest sums, have been allocated to ease traffic congestion in the North-East.

When Darlington’s £12m through-about opened almost a decade ago it was hailed as an innovative way to ease traffic congestion. It is now being replaced by a more conventional roundabout. The through-about - a kind of circular road junction that filters traffic - divided opinion from day one. Tellingly, our online poll last night showed about 75 per cent of voters welcomed news that it was being scrapped.

Plans for a new industrial park mean that the through-about is no longer fit for purpose - if indeed it ever was.

Austerity cuts means there is no longer any margin of error for councils to squander money on schemes that might be scrapped at a later date. We hope that this latest transport U-turn doesn’t end up as another costly dead end.