Smithdown Road delays extended

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Smithdown Road construction works in the morning rush hour

Roadworks that have crippled Smithdown Road in Liverpool are now expected to take an extra four weeks, causing more delays for commuters in what one local business has described as a ‘disaster’.

Not only will the construction work last a further month it has also been revealed that resurfacing work in January will add another three months of misery for commuters.

The work, which is a combined effort by Liverpool City Council and Scottish Power, started in late September and although it was originally planned to last just six weeks, signs around the area are now warning people to expect delays for ten weeks.

Businesses in the area are feeling the effects of the traffic problems, with some claiming the roadworks are causing decreased footfall.

Sally Ayres, manager of Oxfam furniture on Smithdown Road, has hit out, saying that she was not notified and that it has had an adverse effect on her charity shop.

Mrs Ayres said: “Everyone is so frustrated with the roadworks, they’re just rushing past our shop and not coming in to browse as usual.”

Roadworks on Smithdown Road

The amount of donations in the store means that Oxfam has to pay for a waste company to take away excess donations once a fortnight, costing the charity shop hundreds of pounds each time.

Mrs Ayres explained: “Usually we’d have to pay for waste to be removed no more often than every three or four months.

“We fill up quite quickly, but because no one is buying we simply have no more room.

“We have three floors chock-a-block with furniture, meaning we’re paying out every one or two weeks to have excess donations removed.”

Mrs Ayres also believes that, had she been informed in due course, the charity shop could have planned ahead to avoid the problems and saved hundreds of pounds.

She said: “It has been a massive disaster that could have been avoided if we had some warning, we could have planned ahead and reduced the number of donations we were taking.”

When the roadworks first began, council spokesman Damien Richards-Clarke told JMU Journalism: “When they carry out work, the responsibility falls with the utility company that is carrying out the work, in this case, Scottish Power.

“On the stretch of road, we have contacted every single business in the direct vicinity of where the works are taking place.”

However, the extension to the original six-week deadline appears to be the subject of miscommunication between Scottish Power and the city authorities, with a council spokesperson admitting they knew little of the new timescale.

Smithdown Road construction

The spokesperson said: “Scottish Power found that they needed longer than expected. Because of the nature of these utility works, sometimes it takes longer to do than expected; it is probably that they’ve been a bit too optimistic in their estimation of the timescale.

“They had indicated that it might have been extended but it was only when we formalised it yesterday that we knew how long.”

The roadworks are causing headaches for commuters using public transport.

Aaron Gregg, a 25-year-old LJMU Multimedia Computing student, said: “I was late to my lecture this morning as I had to wait for almost half an hour before a bus finally stopped with some room for passengers.”

However, commuters are set for further disruption in January, as Scottish Power are planning further works in the area.

Speaking to JMU Journalism, a council spokesperson admitted: “When the cabling work has been finished, there will have to be resurfacing work, that will start in the middle of January and will take about 12 weeks.

“The resurfacing work will cause further disruption, but we will send out more information to businesses and residents in the new year.”

About Josh Parry, JMU Journalism