Frustration as roadworks cause major delays

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ROADWORKS which restricted access to a local tyre company were responsible for slashing takings by 50 per cent, a local businessman has claimed.

Part of the Downshire Road was cut off for five days last week while resurfacing work was carried out, but Paul Thompson of Thompson Tyres said the scheme couldn’t have come at a worse time and “completely killed” what should have been one of his busiest weeks.

Roadworks are currently being carried out at a number of different locations in Banbridge leading to anger from residents and motorists who have complained about gridlock across the town centre.

The works include improving skid resistance on the Downshire Road, constructing a mini roundabout at the Reilly Street junction as part of a traffic calming scheme and upgrading traffic signals near the Bridge Street junction.

Mr Thompson, who said the garage had been practically empty all week, claimed he was unaware of work due to be carried out until three days before it began. “Someone came in and told me there would be roadworks the following week - they said it would last around two days but then it went on for the entire week.

“It has completely killed one of the busiest weeks we would have at this time of year. I had five members of staff standing here for parts of the day doing nothing because of this.”

Mr Thompson said some consideration should have been made for traders who were likely to suffer due to the heavy traffic and lack of direct access to the town centre.

“If you knew what the traffic was like you wouldn’t bother coming into the town,” he said. “The whole place was so busy the week before with the lights switch-on and people were out and about in the town and now this has completely killed it.”

Mr Thompson suggested there should have been one-lane traffic and work could have been carried out at night or on a weekend to speed things up.

A spokeswoman for Roads Service explained that any possible inconvenience had to be balanced against the safety of road workers.

“These works will improve the safety and efficiency of the road. Roads Service recognise roadworks are often inconvenient and would like to thank the public and local traders for their patience,” said the spokeswoman.

“While considering the needs of traders and the public during any road scheme, we must bear in mind the safety of road users including the road workers on site and on this occasion Roads Service needed to close the road while the work was underway.”