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A41 Bilston Road: Businesses speak out after roadworks hell comes to an end

By Jessica Labhart | Wolverhampton | News | Published:

More needs to be done to let people know the A41 Bilston Road is open to traffic again, according to business owners.

Hundreds of metres of new tram track being laid along the A41 Bilston Road earlier this year.

The roadworks, which began in June this year and were due to be completed by Christmas, finished ahead of schedule last week.

However, drivers are still not aware that they can now use the road to travel both in and out of the city centre, according to those who run businesses along the road.

Owners also say that Midland Metro Alliance, which carried out the works to extend and replace the tram tracks, are yet to remove signs that were up during the works.

They say that more needs to be done to tell people that the road is back to normal.

Coffee Express owner Abi Hatipoglu said: "We're happy that the works have come to an end.

"But we're noticed that since it's ended, there are only a few cars travelling along the road.

"I think it's going to take a long time for things to get back to normal.

"Also, the signs are still up saying there's a diversion. So new signs need to go up saying it's back to normal."

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Rakesh Ladher, who runs the Red Lion pub on the Bilston Road, is secretary of the Bilston Road Action Group.

The group had been formed to help business owners negatively affected by the six months of road works.

He said members are fighting for compensation after it was revealed there had been profit losses of 60 to 80 per cent during the works.

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Coffee Express owner Abi Hatipoglu

MP Pat McFadden, Labour MP for Wolverhampton South East had also fought for the compensation for the businesses.

He said: "Everyone locally is very relieved to see Bilston Road reopened.

"The traders along the road have been through a terrible time in recent months. I was there on Saturday and the sense of relief among the traders was very real.

"The length of time these works went on for means a lot of local people have got used to avoiding Bilston Road.

"We need a concerted marketing effort now to let people know the road is fully reopened, parking places outside the shops are available and so on.

"We should do all we can to try to ensure the traders have a good Christmas period and that they can put this period behind them.

"I also still feel they should get some kind of hardship payment for the very damaging effects on their businesses that these works have had, but we have been consistently rebuffed on that question by the Mayor and the Combined Authority.”

Jo Barnett, for the Midland Metro Alliance, said: "We are pleased to hear that the traders on Bilston Road are happy we have finished the works ahead of schedule.

“We removed all traffic management signs stating that the road was closed to incoming traffic on Saturday when we reopened the road for two-way traffic. There are also a number of VMS signs as you enter the city advertising the road is completely open.

“As we did for the duration of the works, we are happy to continue to support the traders by promoting the fact that the road is open for business. Among the things we have done are an advertising campaign on social media which has reached in excess of 22,000 local people to date, promoting it on our own and partners social media accounts, advertising on the trams themselves and in local magazines.

“Obviously if there is something more specific the traders would like us to do, we are happy to discuss this on a one to one basis.”

Jessica Labhart

By Jessica Labhart
@JLabhart_star

Reporter for the Express & Star, primarily covering Wolverhampton.

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