Further disruption from roadworks
COMMUTERS in Great Yarmouth have faced yet further disruption this week as a major £1m roadworks project continues on Haven Bridge. The closure of Haven Bridge to inbound traffic triggered bumper to bumper queues during rush hours on the A12 from Gapton Hall roundabout in Yarmouth stretching down the relief road in Gorleston.
COMMUTERS in Great Yarmouth have faced yet further disruption this week as a major £1m roadworks project continues on Haven Bridge.
The closure of Haven Bridge to inbound traffic triggered bumper to bumper queues during rush hours on the A12 from Gapton Hall roundabout in Yarmouth stretching down the relief road in Gorleston. Traffic came to a grinding halt on Gapton Hall Road with reports of jams up to the Rainbow superstore in Bradwell on Monday morning.
And it was revealed while some shops in the town centre are maintaining sales, smaller businesses are struggling to keep their heads above water.
Town Centre manager Jonathan Newman said he genuinely feared for the livelihood of smaller businesses if people continued to stay away from Yarmouth.
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He also said there was a “sense of aggravation” among traders about the “over emphasis” of roadworks on local radio stations, meaning shoppers are thinking twice about coming into Yarmouth.
Mr Newman added: “Businesses have been coming to me complaining that the road works are being over emphasised on local radio stations. Traders felt the traffic problems were being exaggerated and these are businesses which are telling me their sales were between 50pc and 75pc down last week.
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“It is obvious people are having difficulty getting in and out of the town but this week it has been noticeable people coming in from the north have had less problems. The Acle Straight and Caister Road have been fairly clear but radio does not make this distinction so people living in Martham or the Fleggs might choose to stay away thinking they will sit in traffic on Lawn Avenue for ages when in fact that is not the case.”
Mr Newman admitted the outlook for some traders was looking gloomy as some had already tightened purse strings due to the current economy slow down, a situation being made worse by the roadworks.
He said: “I fear for smaller businesses if people continue to stay away.”
Mr Newman said the opening of Debenhams in Market Gates Shopping Centre later this month signalled a light at the end of the tunnel. “This should make the town more attractive to shoppers.”
And to entice shoppers the town centre is hosting an Italian Market today and tomorrow .
The second phase of work began on Saturday at Hall Quay on the southbound lane from the Town Hall up to North Quay, outside Haven Bridge House.
Highways project manager David Allfrey said phase two was on programme to finish tomorrow and phase three would begin a day earlier on Sunday .
He said: “Phase three sees the same traffic management as phase two so hopefully everyone has got used to that arrangement.”
Mr Allfrey added he was confident the entire project should finish ahead of schedule providing weather conditions were favourable.
w For more information visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/hallquay or to raise a concern contact Dave Barley via the customer service centre on 0844 8008009.
Pictures: Laura Bagshaw