“Dangerous” cycle lanes costing businesses thousands

COSTLY: Works on the cycle lanesCOSTLY: Works on the cycle lanes
COSTLY: Works on the cycle lanes
BUSINESSES are losing thousands of pounds a week due to on-going work on Rotherham’s multi-million pound cycle path scheme, which they say is “dangerous”.

The miles of roadworks, which are causing long traffic delays, are also costing taxi firms and drivers money and time.

They believe the £3.6 million could have been better spent elsewhere as the work is hitting already struggling businesses in the run up to the vital Christmas trade period.

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However, Rotherham Council has promised that major routes into town are set to re-open.

Rotherham Rugby Club commercial director John Whaling said the business was losing around £4,000 per game because of the reduced access to Clifton Lane as well as experiencing difficulties in accepting deliveries.

Two months ago Rotherham Council told the Advertiser that it was trying to “keep the impact of construction activity to a minimum”, but Mr Whaling said the situation had further deteriorated.

He said: “We are an island now. They have totally cut us off from the rest of the world.

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"It puts everybody off and our gates have dwindled as a result. We are losing a lot of money, thousands of pounds per game.”

A spokesperson for a major Rotherham taxi firm said drivers were losing fares and customers complaining of higher fares because of the traffic light situation around the roadworks.

"I can spend around 15 minutes an hour sat in traffic or waiting for lights to go from red. It’s costing me jobs as I am spending so long on what should be short journeys, and customers are moaning that the price is higher because the meter is ticking over while we are not moving.

"The delays are terrible on Sheffield Road and the new layouts going down Broom Lane are dangerous. They are narrow, the kerbs are high and the cycle lanes are really wide, especially on the roundabout leading to Wellgate and onto Clifton Lane. There are also lots of side roads leading onto the cycle paths which could prove extremely dangerous and a lot of people don’t exactly drive slowly or carefully. There will be accidents, there’s no doubt about that.”

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Another Rotherham business owner, who did not wish to be named, said the money spent “could have been better used elsewhere. I appreciate the money wasn’t offered for anything other than cycle lanes, but why accept it? It’s money wasted on something that won’t be used and is totally unnecessary.”

Assistant director of regeneration and environment for Rotherham Council Simon Moss said: “We are truly sorry for any issues caused because of the roadworks and are working to ensure these are minimised. The concerns over potential impact on any nearby businesses due to any diversions and delays because of this work are entirely understandable.

“I can confirm that the roundabout, Wellgate and Clifton Lane, are planned to be fully open from Friday December 1, subject to final safety checks.

“However, before all the works are finally completed there will also need to be some road resurfacing works. This is scheduled to start on Broom Road on Friday December 8 and has now been timed around the upcoming Titans fixtures. The works are expected to take around four days and will take place during the day, to avoid noise for residents at night, starting at 8am and ending at 8pm at the latest. A diversion will be in place. Once complete, the traffic signals on Broom Road will then be removed.

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“Further resurfacing in the area has been delayed until the new year to minimise any further disruption over the Christmas period. We do appreciate everyone’s patience through this time.”

Simon added he was happy to discuss any concerns with businesses impacted directly, should they wish this.