I don't always mind being wrong. It is one of the joys of pessimism to find oneself unexpectedly disproved. (Joke!) Yet there are, still, moments when your humble columnist feels honour-bound to recant. This is one.
It's my second official opinion-recall. The first was late last century. I had predicted Philip Cox's ABC-TV building in Ultimo as a fine addition to the streetscape. I was wrong, and two years later, built fact proved it.
Now it's Berry. Last week I suggested in passing that a bypass might save Windsor ''as it has saved Berry''.
Well! You'd have thought I proposed deep-frying the Royal corgis. A tsunami followed; polite, unfailingly cogent but implacable dissent. And not a form letter among it.
My Berry remark had been made in good faith but without examining the detail.
Now, having done that, I'm here to tell you. It's a shocker.
The Berry bypass is not a bypass at all. It's a through-pass. A bugger-up. A wrecking ball, dividing the town, and the community.
It reminds me of another regret I have as a critic, another sin of omission. A friend persuaded me to delete from a roads-versus-heritage piece the phrase ''the Baskerville hounds of the RTA''. My friend thought the analogy extreme. I thought it merely descriptive. Still do.
Berry is one of the sweetest towns you could ever hope to meet. Summer Berry, in my head, because I've mainly stopped there for gelato, sourdough, single malt or other life-essentials en route to some summer holiday or other. This whiff of the delicious confection known as summer pudding conjures, for me, the leafy gardens of Kent, where I first tasted it, pinching myself (after a year there) that the sun could indeed shine in England, and berries ripen.
All of which I mention only because that's the sort of place Berry is; succulent, leafy and gracious in a slightly Midsomer Murders sort of way. Sweet.
Were the bomb scheduled for tomorrow, Berry would be in the handful of NSW towns I'd bother saving.
So imagine my shock to find that the Roads and Maritime Services, apparently all new-age and consultative, is in fact unreconstituted from Baskerville times, and proposes to run a four-lane 100km/h concrete-jungle divided highway through the middle of it.
Berry has always straddled the highway, bisected, as towns often are, by the very road that feeds it. Yet it has survived, largely because, when the road is heavy with holidaymakers, its narrowness gives a whole new meaning to Australian crawl.
This means that you can drift across with relative ease, and the bookshops, cafes and boutique butchers lining the street are kept alive.
But the hounds are restive.
Movement of this drifty, poking-around kind - the kind that sustains and invigorates towns - bores them. They want things to go FAST.
Fast backwards. You may have noticed how everything this government does to ''get the state moving again'' is retrograde - from harbour heliports and towering casinos to shooters in parks and B-triples on the Hume, spewing ever more carbon into the air even as we face the hottest weather on record.
Perhaps Barry O'Farrell didn't get the memo. Conservative no longer means old-fashioned, dead-headed, moribund. It doesn't legitimise old-style aggro-modernism, rampaging through people's town centres like some 20th century boofhead.
Conservative now implies conservation - protecting heritage, environment, amenity, beauty because it's all there is.
Yet the Berry bypass looks like something out of Chief City Engineer Garnsey's report after his tour of Europe and America 1946-47. Excited as only engineers can be over such things, Garnsey spends 683 pages documenting the highway paraphernalia he would bestow upon Sydney - parkways and interchanges, culs-de-sac and clover leafs, on-ramps, off-ramps and high-level overpasses.
That's 70-odd years back. For the past 20, cities such as San Francisco and Berlin have been pulling such stuff down, dirty, ugly, urbanistically unsound and environmentally catastrophic as it is.
Yet, lucky little Berry. If the RMS has its way they'll get the lot.
Government feasibilities show various options for Berry, but are overwhelmingly weighted towards the preferred town-halving one. Now, courtesy of the port leases from Kembla and Botany, they've also got the money.
Berry always had a lovely, open-ended feel, making its beginning, middle and end quite clear without any sense of entrapment.
Not for much longer. Skimming first along the town's northern edge, the bypass slides the dagger under Berry's skin before plunging straight through its pretty gridded heart.
Soon, drifting down Queen Street will bring you face to face with a great concrete road-barrier, complete with overpass, aerial roundabouts and a litter of dead ends.
Less your charming southern village, more your James Ruse Drive on steroids.
And there's more. This so-called ''northern interchange'' is just one of five such concrete fandangos that will march across the 12 kilometres of pasture-scape between Toolijooa and Kangaroo Valley Road.
O'Farrell may be right that ''half the nation's road freight and three-quarters of all interstate road freight journeys are on NSW roads and the Princes Highway is a key freight route''. But we should encourage freight on to rail, not funnel 35-metre road-trains through country towns.
Of course, roads bring life, as well as destroying it. Some, such as Berry Chamber of Commerce president Bill Seelis, support the new road, believing it will save Berry from becoming a ghost town.
But traffic on this thundering scale, and the jack-boot infrastructure that enables it, never saved anyone's town.
The sad thing is, it didn't have to end like this. The RMS considered a genuine bypass.
Taking the highway south of Berry, along the rail line, is still the Berry Alliance's preferred option.
Yet the RMS dismisses it in two short paragraphs, saying it did ''not perform well'' - no detail given - and required $150 million of extra earthworks. Alternative costings, prepared by private consultants for the community and given to the RMS, reversed this imbalance, showing the southern option $12 million cheaper.
Perhaps the RMS, like me, should look again at the Berry bypass. Long enough and hard enough to understand roads are not just roads. They are our cultural conduits, way too important to leave to the engineers.