Two more weeks (too many) left of Northampton's smart corridor roadworks

St James businesses are counting the days until the smart corridor works are lifted.
Back in January traders and councillors united in their dislike for the scheme, pictured above.
St James businesses are counting the days until the smart corridor works are lifted. Back in January traders and councillors united in their dislike for the scheme, pictured above.
11
Have your say

With a fortnight left to go of the disruptive roadworks in Northampton, businesses are counting the days - but not so much the takings.

Since the Weedon Road Smart corridor scheme was launched in January, motorists have had to endure lengthy delays travelling in the St James area.

The works along Weedon Road are now in the final stages.

The works along Weedon Road are now in the final stages.

Last week some drivers reported a 45-minute journey time between Barrack Road and Weedon Road, a trip that would usually take a matter under five minutes.

Alfred Seale, who runs greengrocers in Weedon Road, says traders in the area are also struggling to cope.

His takings have been down between 30 and 40 per cent.

But with Northamptonshire County Council now claiming the works are in the final stages, Mr Searle cannot wait for the traffic cone maze to disappear from the from of his shop.

"Trading has been poor, very poor," he said.

"That is all the businesses down here.

"There has been times it has looked like a ghost town. There has been plenty of cars around her - but no people."

Back in January Mr Searle said firms should be compensated for trading losses by the county council, which has commissioned the work to improve traffic flow in the area.

So far that has not happened, though it is understood other firms are attempting to pursue claims.

Mr Searle even believes the Aldi store in Harlestone Road has seen a dip in trade, with punters simply choosing to head to one of the other budget-brand supermarkets in town.

"The trouble is people change their habits," he added. "We are just hoping that once all the cones go, the people come back."

Kay Chettle, who manages It's A Gift in Harlestone Road, has also reported a drop in takings.

She said: "It has affected us definitely, but more so five or six weeks ago as opposed to now.

"The worst thing has been the disruption to the buses. Some of them have ben re-routed.

"It's easier to lose customers than it is to gain them."

The smart corridor scheme will eventually see live traffic displays, wi-fi enabled bus stops and improved traffic lights installed along Weedon Road.

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said: “Work on the Weedon Road smart corridor is now nearing completion, with the resurfacing works in the area now finished.

“The next steps are to complete the ironworks in the carriageway, finish off the road markings and make adjustments to the traffic signals.

“The temporary traffic management will be removed from the area in early June.”