Roadworks that have caused disruption on a major route in the Black Country will be completed on November 30, it has been revealed – but traders today said that the damage had already been done.
But once the work finishes at the Vine Island junction in Wolverhampton, it will signal the start of a project to turn an adjoining road into a dual carriageway.
The island junction on the A449 Stafford Road is being remodelled so it can deal with extra traffic heading to the i54 business park, where Jaguar Land Rover is creating a £500 million factory.
Traders said the £3 million project had hit their businesses and left them struggling to make ends meet, while drivers have complained that the new layout is confusing and has led to a series of near misses. An end to more than a year of roadworks at the junction is now in sight – but businesses say the damage has already been done.
Once the work is completed, a £3.6m scheme to turn Wobaston Road into a dual carriageway to ease congestion will be carried out. The council has warned there may be an overlap between both projects.
Wobaston Road is to have extra lanes and traffic lights installed to ease congestion from firms at the i54.
Lynn Roberts, who runs Olive Grove on Stafford Road, said she was now struggling to meet the rent demands for the property and has now resorted to offering prizes and group discounts at her home interiors store.
She said: “The damage has been done but at least we have got something to work towards. We will be glad when it is over.”
It comes as it emerged traders hit by the works can apply for business rate relief.
Wolverhampton City Council today confirmed it was sending letters to affected traders to ‘set out a number of options available to them’.
Councillor Peter Bilson, Wolverhampton City Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Enterprise, said: “The overall scheme is progressing well and contractors are reporting that everything is on track for completion.
“This is a vital project to support the i54 South Staffordshire development.”