Laira Bridge delays are killing us
ROADWORKS around Laira Bridge are having a "devastating" effect on trade, say businesses.
A family-run pub, marine experts and local mechanics are the latest to bemoan the traffic chaos.
They say gridlock in the area, hit by major roadworks for a second time in the space of a year, is driving away vital trade.
Ray Griffin, who runs The Morley Arms in Billacombe Road with his partner and two children, said the family had "barely recovered" from the first round of works around Gdynia Way.
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"It is having a devastating effect on business," the 66-year-old said.
"It has caused a tremendous loss of trade to us and other businesses, and has had no discernible benefit.
"We realise the work has to be done, but it's the way it's being done. I asked the council why aren't they working at night? They said it was the "most efficient use of resources" which to me means the cheapest.
"I had two customers for lunch yesterday when I would normally have between 20 and 30.
Because I can't turn right, if I want to go to Morrisons, I have to go left, turn round at Cattedown and come back again.
"We aren't entitled to compensation; no-one is minimising the disruption.
"It's an appalling situation and it's affecting businesses all over Plymstock, backing traffic up as far back as Charles Cross."
Daughter Bonny Griffin, 34, who has a second job in Derriford, added: "People up there say they won't come to the pub until the work has finished. They're effectively boycotting the area."
Other firms along Billacombe Road said they, too, were suffering.
Dennis Mallett, business director at nearby Tony Hole Marine Ltd, said: "People who would normally pop in are saying on the phone they won't be coming.
"What I can't understand is when they did Gdynia Way it was meant to finish in the November, and it went on much longer. Where is the foresight? Why not get it all done in one go?"
Mark Kelly, business partner at JMA Vauxhall Service Specialist in The Ride, said the roadworks were having a "big knock-on effect" on his trade.
"We've had a lot of cancellations," he said. "They've driven over the bridge and realised how bad it is, then they're calling up and saying they were booked with us for work but that they're cancelling because the traffic is so bad.
"It's only been a couple of weeks and we've got this through to November. We've got a few garages around us and it is having a major effect on us all.
"There is just no consideration for the small businesses in the area."
John Richards, of the Plymouth MOT Centre in Billacombe Road, said trade came back after Gdynia Way work finished, but now "it's gone dead again".
He said: "Customers who live on the other side of the Plym say they don't want to come over to us because it's a nightmare. I don't understand why the council can't get it right and be done with it. The roadworks seem to be taking forever."
When the improvements were announced, Councillor Mark Coker, cabinet member for transport said: "It's important that we improve traffic flow over and around Laira Bridge and reduce delays experienced by drivers.
"This is a vital artery into the city and we're committed to making improvements that help motorists get around.
"The work on the bridge has to be done now or its condition will deteriorate further, which will require even more repair work at greater expense. It makes sense to co-ordinate the junction improvements with the bridge maintenance so there is a single set of works and future disruption is kept to a minimum."