Bridgework ‘kills’ Christmas trade

HUGE delays have been caused by work to improve Trent Bridge - causing much concern to Gainsborough businesses.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 29th November 2011, 12:30 pm

Work began on the A631 Trent Bridge area of Gainsborough from Monday 21st November and traffic will be restricted while essential maintenance work is done over five weeks.

The first day of the work caused delays of an up to an hour, sparking criticism from commuters and concern from local businesses who fear losing pre-Christmas trade.

David Hawkins from the Gainsborough Town Centre Partnership said: “I’ve fielded many complaints from businesses and the public.”

“There have been horrendous queues, particularly heading from Beckingham roundabout to Gainsborough - an hour to travel the 1.5 miles was common.

David added: “When you consider the timing of these works for the whole of the run up to Christmas, I’m frightened to think of the amount of trade that will be lost to Gainsborough from Doncaster and Retford. People simply won’t come into town because of the hold-ups.”

Liz Childe works at Barren Bou on Lord Street.

“It couldn’t be at a worse time,” she said. “We had some ladies come in yesterday who just said ‘we’ll wish you a merry Christmas now because you won’t see us again’. They were waiting to cross the bridge for over an hour.”

She continued: “We had a meeting of the Independent Retailer’s Group and the general consensus among local businesses is that this will kill Christmas trade.”

Area Highways Manager Steve Wiles responded: “The first day of this bridge refurbishment work didn’t keep people on the move as we had planned.”

“What we’ve done now is just have two way traffic lights on the A631 to keep the traffic flowing, which is working much better. The lights are only in place between 9.30am and 3.30pm on weekdays, and we’d encourage people to plan their journey around this.”

He continued: “Unfortunately there is never a perfect time to carry out improvements that suits everyone but we’d urge people to bear with us. It will be worth it when the work is completed and the bridge is restored to its former glory.”

“The work will be suspended during the Lincoln Christmas Market from 1st - 4th December - so that people travelling there from Gainsborough won’t be affected.”