BRIDPORT is braced for weeks of traffic misery with road and water works in the town centre.
Traders have spoken out about concerns that the works – expected to last three weeks – could harm their businesses at the start of the crucial summer season.
Essential three-week long sewer repair work is being carried out by HSBC Bank, East Street.
At the same time Dorset County Council plans to close parts of and fix the B3162 road, one of the roads ravaged by winter storms.
Many small local businesses are worried that the work, which will see three temporary traffic lights and two road closures, will have a ‘detrimental’ impact on trade in and around the town.
Wessex Water started work to repair a collapsed sewer on Monday.
The existing traffic lights at the junctions of East Street, West Street and South Street have been turned off and replaced with temporary traffic lights.
Road surface repairs also mean that a temporary road closure will be put in place on the B3162 North Allington and Dottery Road between Monday, June 9 and Friday, June 13 during the hours 9am to 4pm each day.
The closures will be put in place again the following week between Monday, June 16, for six days.
It comes as part of a council initiative to use £5.8m from the government’s emergency fund to repair the county’s roads.
Sandy Manson, manager of Good News store on East Street, said: “These road closures seem to be a normal event for Bridport.
“They have a detrimental impact on small businesses as our customers have not got easy access to the shop.
“They cannot easily park up and get into us.
“When we have been near to water works before it has seen a loss of business.”
Alan Holland, owner of Washingpool Farm Shop on the B3162, said: “It is very disappointing because it is a busy time of the year and our customers won’t be able to get to us with the road closure.
“Last year they closed the road near Salway Ash and it had an impact on our business.”
He added: “It would make more sense to do the work overnight.”
Bob Cadnam, of Bridport Sport shop, said: “Hopefully this will not impact our business but this isn’t to say that it won’t.
“We will just wait and see as Bridport is so up and down anyway. If the weather is and it won’t bother us much.”
Bridport town councillor Karl Wallace said: “These works are causing me concern as yet again we are going into the summer season with road closures at just the time loads of tourists are coming to the area.
“More co-ordination is needed between the highways, town council and the utilities to better plan when these works are taking place.
“The local businesses are right to be worried because it will have an impact on them.”
Kevin Cheleda, of Dorset County Council’s highways team, said: “We had the county council works planned but the sewer work has come in and needs doing so we will aim to work together to get it all done.”