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Bridge closed down as traders ask for support
12:10pm Thursday 19th September 2013 in News
DRIVERS are bracing themselves for delays after Evesham’s Abbey Bridge closed to commuters today.
The bridge, a main thoroughfare into the town, will be closed for ten weeks amid calls for everyone to pull together to support the town during the work.
A raft of measures have been introduced in a bid to help support Evesham during the £12.6 million scheme to repair and replace much of the current structure, such as reduced parking and bus fares, but many fear the closure will badly hit the town and affect its long-term future. One of the main worries is the loss of shoppers in the town centre.
Ali Eghbal, of the Barbershop in the High Street, said: “I have customers that finish at 5pm and want to come to the shop before I close at 6pm, but because of the traffic they can’t get here.”
Adrian Lowe, owner of the High Street’s OHL Stationers, said: “We don’t know what it is going to be like and that is the worrying thing. Of course I am worried – there has been an impact already.”
In the run up to the closure, many businesses have put in place measures such as later opening times and delivery services. Now, others are imploring people to support the town’s traders.
Mayor Mark Goodge said: “It is going to be a problem for the town, but it needs to be done. We want everyone to pull together during the next ten weeks and we look forward to the bridge re-opening for Christmas.”
Vale of Evesham Commerce and Tourism Association chairman Tony Rowland said: “I appeal to members of the public to continue supporting all the Evesham traders.
“Evesham will become a boom town in the future. At property agent Timothy Lea & Griffiths we are seeing an increase already in commercial lets in the town.”
Residents have also expressed their worries with Claire Chin, of Badsey, saying: “It is a nightmare already. I have no choice but to come in though. This is where everything is.”
Steve Scrimshaw, of Hamilton Road, said he used a bus to get to Stratford-upon-Avon for work. “It has been a problem. But it was always going to be. I don’t think it’s been too bad,” he said.
John McLeod, who commutes from Pershore to work at the Evesham B&Q, said: “I travel by car. I am hoping that when they close the bridge it will be quicker coming from Pershore because there will be one less junction.”
Meanwhile, former councillor and Evesham resident Martin King said he had concerns about the diversion route.
“I think the only concern is how the traffic will cope. Old concerns about the traffic system have returned.”
And former mayor Jim Bulman agreed with the fears over traffic flow.
“It is a job that’s got to be done,” he said. “I have doubts about the traffic flow, but then I think a lot of people in the town do.”
Worcestershire County Council also announced yesterday emergency traffic lights had been installed on Worcester Road near the Tesco superstore to tackle a recently discovered subsidence problem.
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