BUSINESSES around the Chipp-enham bypass are suffering a trade slump after three months of roadworks, with cranes due to stay for at least seven months.
Work to extend the dual carriageway from Jacksom’s Lane about 600m to the Badger roundabout at the Morrisons store began in April.
The £2.7m scheme is being funded mainly by the Govern-ment’s Local Pinch Point Fund.
Kim Crosby, manager of the Plough Inn at the turn-off for Kington St Michael, said: “Business went down as soon as the work started. It has dropped off quite a bit.”
Richard Ockwell, bar manager at the Jolly Huntsman in Kington St Michael, said it had also seen a decline in footfall.
The Esso garage at the Malmesbury Road roundabout has signs out to let customers know it is open throughout the work, which Wiltshire Council said this week was progressing well. The target date for completion is March 2015.
But there is more major roadworks misery to come, with £11.1 million plans to extend the dual carriageway by another 4km, all the way to the Chequers roundabout at the Bath Road junction, where Sainsbury’s is located.
At Little Chef, manager Neil Parke said fewer business customers had been in, but he hoped it would be worth it for a drop congestion in the long run.
“It was a bottleneck here,” he said. “I hope it will improve it.”
Next door, at Burger King, shift manager Ashley Clark had a different experience to report.
He said: “If anything, trade has got better. All the builders meet in the car park and come in before they start their shift.”
The Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) said improving the primary route, connecting the coast to the M4, was a priority to boost the county’s economy. But drivers are already fed up, especially those in nearby villages.
Rachel Garrad, 21, of Royal Wootton Bassett, has to travel to Morrisons from Kington Langley for catering as part of her job at Quiksilva.
She said: “It adds 10 minutes to my journey if I get stuck at the lights. It can be chocka, standstill by Morrisons in the morning.”
Nigel Farr, 51, of High Street in Kington St Michael, said: “Someone said it took them 35 minutes to get from the M4 to the Plough.
“People are getting tired of it. You can’t get on to the dual carriageway. Sometimes there’s a queue down nearly to the motorway. It’s an inconvenience, if you’re only going to Morrisons and you sit there for 20 minutes.”
He said people were sick of drivers turning off at the Plough and using the Yatton Keynell road as a rat run to get back on to the A420 at Allington.”
The Swindon and Wiltshire LEP expects the dualling up to Sainsbury’s to deliver 1,550 jobs, according to its strategic economic plan in March.