TRADERS in the heart of Poulton claim customers are avoiding their businesses following the closure of a railway bridge.
The Tithebarn Street route into the market town was closed a month ago to allow Network Rail to strengthen the bridge and electrify the line between Blackpool North and Poulton.
But businessmen say they are struggling to attract customers and are not expecting life to get any easier as the delays continue.
Lucy Jones, owner of the New Penny restaurant, on Tithebarn Street, said: “We are very concerned because of how long this is going to go on.
“January is already a quiet month and we have bills coming in that we need to pay.
“We have a lot of regular customers but after the initial trade in the morning there’s nothing until lunch.”
Frank Whiteside, co-owner of Home Comforts on Tithebarn Street, also voiced his concerns.
He said: “The work has affected our trade, without a doubt.
“We know people in Singleton and Carleton don’t want to come into Poulton anymore because the journey to get here is adding hours on their day.
“Some customers are saying the changes to the route are confusing and although there’s a shuttle bus being provided, people don’t want to use it.”
Mr Whiteside’s wife, Ellen, added: “They were going to do this before Christmas and if they had done, at least people would’ve come in to buy presents.”
The bridge is due to re-open on May 22.
A spokesman for Network Rail, said: “Every effort has been taken by Network Rail to keep the duration of works and subsequent disruption to a minimum.
“We have been working with all affected parties since summer 2012, rescheduling the original closure to after the busy Christmas period and providing pedestrian access throughout.”