Bromyard Road closure making surrounding roads dangerous and hurting businesses in Ledbury

From The Hereford Times - click here....!

 After just three weeks, the closure of the Bromyard Road for bridge repairs has had a major impact on Ledbury residents and businesses, as well as leading to claims that local verges are being churned up by heavy lorries in narrow lanes.

Wellington Heath residents in particular say their village is being used as a "rat run" by motorists and lorry drivers attempting to find their own way around the lengthy diversions, a main official one being through Fromes Hill and Ashperton and on to the Hereford Road.

Wellington Heath resident Peter Constantine said: "I understand that in places along Hollow Lane, residents have been putting up barriers to protect the verges. Volume of traffic has increased significantly, and I've heard about one lorry driver who got very abusive with one lady driver."

Official diversions should not take heavy traffic up Hollow Lane and through Wellington Heath, nor down any narrow lanes.

But resident Andy Haden said: "I hope that the council are planning on doing running repairs to passing places as a lot of them are deeply rutted and very muddy already, and will only get worse. It doesn’t help that some drivers are failing to pull over as far as they can, leading to those coming the other way having to mount the edges even higher than normal and breaking them down further."

Jade Marie told a similar story, posting on the Voice of Ledbury Facebook site: "Some idiot clipped our mirror whilst I was at a standstill with other cars behind me, but carried on trying to get by. Now we have a lovely dent in our door.

"People need to slow the hell down it's not a main road and there are tractors and horses on the lanes."

Long diversions are hitting local motorists hard in the pocket.

Samantha Watkins said: "I go the diversion route four times a week as I work in Ledbury. It has added about 30 miles a week to my fuel bill which in turn means I no longer go to Ledbury except to work. The money I am using to pay for the extra miles is being taken away from the businesses in Ledbury. It may not be much, but if many do the same then it soon adds up."

Chris Howell, manager of the Oak Inn at Staplow, a pub on the Bromyard Road, said: "The bridge closure is definitely affecting our business. The official diversion from Ledbury is 15 miles, so little wonder people are using alternative routes."

The removal of cladding off the metal Storesbrook Bridge last week revealed far more corrosion and rust than was expected by Cllr Barry Durkin, Herefordshire Council cabinet member for transport and regulatory services, and he stressed again this week that the bridge was "dangerous", the repairs are needed, and a long closure until the spring was necessary.

Cllr Durkin said of the decision to close the late Victorian bridge: "This is not a vanity issue. The engineer said the bridge was dangerous and recommended we close it. I am sorry it has caused disruption."

There have also been claims that work is going too slowly, as the first month of repairs comes to a close.

But a Herefordshire Council spokesman said: "Works to replace Storesbrook Bridge deck are progressing well and remain on schedule. Work is currently underway to remove the existing walls and deck and prepare the site for the new deck to be installed.

"At the same time, the new bridge is being constructed off-site, to minimise the amount of time the road needs to remain closed."

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