‘Road closure will be catastrophic’

CONCERNED local businesses have voiced their frustration at the closure of a major road into Gainsborough in fear that it may harm trade during a busy period.

The A156 Gainsborough Road at Lea will be closed for up to two weeks for resurfacing work between Monday 24th October and Friday 4th November.

It is hoped the ‘essential maintenance’ work will be completed during the half-term, while diversions will be in place along the A1500 Tillbridge Lane, A15 and A631,

However, the road is one of the major routes into town from Lincoln and nearby villages such as Marton, Torksey, Fenton, Newton on Trent, Knaith Park and Saxilby - which has concerned local businesses.

Steve Waplington is a window cleaner who believes that the impact could be ‘devastating’.

“I’ve contacted the council and asked them to reconsider this full road closure,” he said. “I don’t see why they can’t do a part closure with a contra-flow system, like they did when they were carrying out similar work near Blyton.”

“This will have a detrimental effect on mine and other businesses in town.”

“Not only is it approaching the Christmas shopping period for shops in Gainsborough, but if we were to have another cold snap like last year when it re-opens then the impact will be catastrophic.”

Steve continued: “I’m on my soapbox because I think it’s wrong - doing this at such a busy time of year will be terrible.”

“I don’t think that they have really thought this through.”

Manager of Barren Bou on Lord Street, Dawn Barren, was also confused and concerned by the road closure.

“Why couldn’t they close the road in January instead of when it will definitely be busy?” she asked. “It will have a massive impact on trade if they can’t get in from Lincoln and the villages - especially in the run up to Christmas.”

“Two weeks is a bit much - why couldn’t there have been temporary traffic lights and a one-way system? Then there would be some hope.”

She continued: “Trade does tend to pick up around that time of year, and people don’t need any more hurdles in the current economic climate.

Dawn added: “It’s hard enough getting people into town as it is - Gainsborough needs help at the moment, not another hindrance.”

Paul Brookes, senior highways officer, said: “We do not close a road unless absolutely necessary, because we are conscious of the impact it can have.”

“In this case, the work involves deep excavations on the whole width of the carriageway, preventing single lane working. Temporary traffic lights would cause delays and significant tailbacks, and would also extend the length of the job.”

“We therefore believe closing the road to be the safest way to make these road repairs and have tried to lessen the impact by giving advance notice, including a letter drop to 220 affected residents and advance warning signs on site. There will still be access to Gainsborough via a main signposted alternative route.”

He added: “Although the road closure is booked for two weeks, the work should take less time than this, and the road closure will be removed over the weekend of 29 and 30 October, then put back so the work can be completed.”

“All of these measures are designed to minimise the impact on traders and road users, whilst the road is improved as quickly and safely as possible.”