THE first day of major roadworks along the A420 were described as a ‘nightmare’ by locals in Shrivenham yesterday.

Oxfordshire Council have closed the Shrivenham bypass for seven weeks meaning up to 20,000 extra vehicles will now pass through the village.

Residents described the road as being blocked solid with traffic while some businesses said trade had been affected.

Trucks weighing more than 8.5 tonnes were not meant to be passing through Shrivenham and instead go along the M4, but some say lorries had been ignoring the diversion.

Earlier this week the parish council asked motorists to try and avoid the route if possible but it was busy throughout the day yesterday, with morning and evening rush hour being particularly bad.

Julie Collins, who works at Bloomfields Deli, said: “We were anticipating the extra traffic so I set off for work early this morning but it didn’t make much difference.

“It was a nightmare and the cars were bumper to bumper. The traffic was moving very slowly. It’s never been that busy.

“On a normal day it would get busy in bursts but never constant like it’s been today. They’re meant to be stopping lorries which aren’t delivering but we’ve seen quite a few come through.”

Her colleague Julie Sealey said: “It’s been affecting our business as well. Normally on a Wednesday lunchtime we would have people queuing out of the door but it’s been very quiet today.

“We had one customer who drives down from her office every day to place orders but she said she won’t bother while the roadworks are being done.

“Hopefully it will improve because the traffic is not as bad during the lunch period so people can get in.”

The road is shut from the Bourton Junction up to the Watchfield Roundabout. For years Oxfordshire Council have been carrying out short term solutions but now they have decided to close the road for seven weeks to fix the problem permanently.

At the other end of the village to the Deli, the effects have not been as severe but locals are preparing themselves.

Kate Hall, of the Crown Pub, said; “We live here and at 7am it was definitely a lot more noisy than normal.

“We were preparing ourselves for it to be really bad but the traffic kept flowing just about. As long as that happens for the next seven weeks it should be okay.”