The main route into Blackpool will be closed for six months to enable urgent repairs to be carried out – slap bang in the middle of the Illuminations season.
Highways chiefs will shut Yeadon Way from the end of September until March next year to enable the £3.6m upgrade to take place.
Council bosses have warned without the work being done urgently, the road is in danger of collapsing.
But worried hoteliers have today called for the repairs to be delayed at least until the Illuminations are almost over, saying the impact on the centre of town during one of the busiest periods of the year could be “a nightmare.”
Claire Smith, president of hoteliers’ group StayBlackpool, said: “I fully appreciate this work needs to be done but slap bang in the middle of this period is the October half-term which is our busiest week of the year.”
Councillors this week agreed to pump almost £1.1m from the council’s own transport budget into the scheme, with £2.5m coming from the Government.
Funding was secured through the Department of Transport’s Pinch Point Fund and must be spent by the end of March 2015.
Coun John Jones, cabinet member for highways on Blackpool Council, said: “The work will start before the Illuminations end but we just can’t get round that.
“This work needs to be done but I can assure residents that I want to see as minimal disruption as possible because I am concious of the impact on the holiday trade, businesses and residents getting to work etc.
“However if we leave it, the road will only get worse and we might be faced with closing it for longer.”
Coun Jones said contractors will work seven days a week to get the work done as quickly as possible, and other major routes will be clear of roadworks to ensure diversions run as smoothly as possible.
As previously reported in The Gazette, experts believe Yeadon Way could collapse in the next few years if no action is taken.
The road, which opened in 1986 and carries seven million cars a year, was built on a former railway embankment leading to the old Central Station. The 3km route includes five bridges.
The embankment is slowly sinking causing fractures to appear in the carriageway, and cracks in some parts of the safety barrier.
Engineers, who closed the road for two days this week to survey it, need to stabilise the embankment by driving piles down into the carriageway.
But hoteliers have raised concerns over the work, which will impact on the end of the Illuminations - which will again run for an extra week this year.
Mrs Smith said: “It is a shame they couldn’t have put if off just one more month because the Illuminations is our busiest time and October is the busiest week of the year.
“I appreciate the work needs doing but more thought should have been given to small businesses trying to make a living.”
Adrian Smirthwaite, of The Albany Hotel on Albert Road, said: “It’s not long since we had all the problems with the Promenade being closed.
“I think they could have avoided the Illuminations.
“There has already been gridlock this week when Yeadon Way was closed for two days - traffic was backing up in the area all round Tesco.”
Neil Winkley, of The Aberford Hotel, on Yorkshire Street, said: “It will make the Promenade a nightmare because people will use that instead.
“It will be a nuisance but if it has to be done, it has to be done, because if they have to close Yeadon Way for good because it collapses, we’ll have permanent traffic problems and that really would affect trade.”
Transport chiefs highlighted the importance of Yeadon Way to the town’s economy in order to secure the Government funding.
The road is seen as key to attracting large scale investment to the Central Station site.
Matthew Edwards, Transportation Project Manager for Blackpool Council, said there was no option but to fully close the carriageway to enable the work to be done.
He said: “We are talking to contractors who are very experienced in this kind of work and there will be several rigs working at any one time.
“When Yeadon Way was built they basically used the old railway embankment but the loading for a rail system is very different than for a road and that’s why over time the road had deteriorated.
“We need to take the concrete panels off, pile down and put the barrier on afterwards.”
The work will extend the life of Yeadon Way for 25 years.
Will Britain, Highways Asset Manager for the council, added; “It will still require maintenance but once we have interrupted the cycle of decline we can minimise deterioration and that is a better use of public funds.”