BUSINESSES are being affected by traffic build-ups caused by roadworks on the M65 motorway, Pendle’s MP said.
Andrew Stephenson MP said companies and traders that rely on customers travelling across East Lancashire to visit them, such as the warehouses on Lomeshaye Industrial Estate, have lost large amounts of trade within days of the work starting.
Works to strengthen the safety barriers on the hard shoulder and bridge parapet walls are being carried out by Lancashire County Council to stop vehicles travelling through them during an accident.
The work began on July 21 and is expected to last six months.
Mr Stephenson said in a bid to try to avoid getting caught in build-ups on the motorway, drivers are trying to use alternative routes through Reedley and Brierfield instead, to the detriment to local traders.
He said: “I have raised this issue with Lancashire County Council to ask how they are going to ensure the roadworks do not negatively impact our local economy and jobs.
“A number of companies that rely on white van drivers, brickies, builders and plumbers from across East Lancashire and beyond for trade have been badly hit.
“They aren’t happy that they weren’t consulted at all about the works, saying they had no warning at all.
“The county council were apologetic when I spoke to them, but said because it is a major road they consulted with the police.
“They said they avoided carrying out work on other major routes around the area that can be used as alternatives, such as the main road through Brierfield and the Padiham bypass.”
However, Brierfield Coun Nawaz Ahmed said residents in his ward had suffered tailbacks due to traffic volume during rush hour.
And Nelson Coun Mohammed Iqbal said he had spoken to three shops in Market Street that had been doing well but said it could have been because of Eid shoppers.
Oliver Starkey, Lancashire County Council highways manager for east Lancashire, said: “The current work on the M65 is vital to ensure the barriers meet the required standard to reduce the risk of vehicles going through them in an accident.
“We’ve focused on giving advance notice to encourage drivers to plan their journeys around the work, and expect delays.
“Traffic speed through the works must be reduced for safety, which will inevitably result in some congestion and we’re doing all we reasonably can to minimise this.”