10:10am Thursday 26th September 2013
IT has been business as usual in Evesham over the past week despite the closure of the Abbey Bridge.
At 5am last Thursday the main route into the town centre was shut as part of a £12.6 million scheme to replace the 85-year-old structure.
Traders braced themselves for a quiet period and drivers for traffic jams but despite long tailbacks on the first morning of the closure, shoppers have continuedto arrive.
Dave Bugg, owner of Run Stuff in High Street, said: “It has been absolutely fine. A lot of our customers have said it’s quicker than normal and they are coming in more because it is only20ptopark.”
The reduced car parking charges are part of a raft of measures introduced in a bid to support the town which include 20p parking for three hours in short stay car parks and subsidised bus fares.
Cafe Rivers, at Evesham Leisure Centre, saw a slight drop in customers, said owner Loraine Walker. “Last Thursday and Friday were very quiet. Customers said the whole of Eveshamseemed to be at a standstill. However, this week the traffic appears to be flowingmore freely.”
Ashley Judge, of Big Whoop Comics in Vine Court, who is celebrating the anniversary of his first year in business with a party on Saturday, said: “The weekend was very busy. All the people I have spoken to say now the twoway system is in place it’s easier than when the bridge was half-closed.”
Adrian Lowe, owner of OHL stationers, said: “As far as we can see it’s pretty easy to get about, albeit you have to make a longer journey to get to the other side of the river.”
Taxi drivers are calling for a temporary rank to be put in place on Waterside. Keith Holloway, of Swift Taxis, said: “We wanted to have ranks there to prevent people having to travel through the traffic.”
However, a response from the county council stated it had not received a formal request and would struggle to implement the rank within the closure period.
Across the town, work to fix a subsidence problem on Worcester Road continues.
The road will be closed for surface work from 7pm tonight, and is expected to reopen after a couple of hours.
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