Wednesday, July 21, 2010

How much did Tameside spend on their 'virtual' bypass?

It's a question that needs answering, especially in the light of the revelations today (which are now reaching a national audience) about how Tameside MBC spent £36,000 to create a 'virtual council' on the online game Second Life.

It's hard to fathom exactly what they thought they were doing by throwing money down an online drain, but in reality Tameside spent much much more on their own 'virtual bypass', the Glossop Spur, to much less complaint in the media. The last we heard, the costs were £7 million.

Perhaps they should have planned to build a virtual bypass in their Second Life zone? Having spent a small amount of time mooching around their zone in SL ourselves before it was shut down, we could find no trace of it.  Which is a shame, because it would be the perfect place for an avatar of the late Roy Oldham to hang out: he could cast his gaze over his bypass forever and ever - he could find the success for his project in his Second Life that he failed to find in reality.

Well, to a certain extent, the powers that be did create a virtual bypass. They employed a company to construct a virtual bypass (though not a Glossop Spur - you can see a screen grab from the virtual map above, showing the plans they had for Swallows Wood). If, like us, you are curious person(s), you will find a way to download the file that contains this map, and viewing software from the site.

On the map, there's a little car that permanently traverses the route - whizzing by every now and then. How misleading: the Highways Agency knew full well their new Bypass would be chock-a-block from day one. Tameside's virtual bypass was a lot like their zone in Second Life: no-one used it. It was an expensive waste of time, money and effort.

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