A leading tourism figure has called for adequate signage and a united effort as Blackpool prepares for a key link road to be closed for six months.
Yeadon Way, connecting the M55 to the centre of the resort via South Shore, will shut from next month until May for essential maintenance.
It follows a three-week closure of the road last year, which coincided with major roadworks elsewhere in town, and it being off limits for four months in 2014, prompting calls from traders and drivers of 'Oh no, not again'.
The closure has also come in for criticism from Blackpool Council's opposition leader Coun Tony Williams, who has accused the current administration of 'stabbing our traders in the back'.
But hotelier Claire Smith, president of Stay Blackpool, said that while any closure is far from ideal, if the work needs doing, it is difficult to find another suitable six-month period - and called for adequate and clear diversion signs to ensure visitors are not left frustrated.
"If the work needs doing, it needs doing and when else in the year can we find six months which would suit Blackpool better?" she said.
"Surely better then than in the peak of the summer and the Illuminations period, so we have to accept it is happening and for everyone to pull together to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible during that period.
"That means good, perfectly clear diversion signs which show visitors exactly how to get to get to the car parks and key destinations without being left wondering what the alternative route is.
"We all need to ensure visitors are not left frustrated or put off in any way from returning.
"They need to leave with the feeling that we are welcoming, well-organised town in which everyone is working together to make their visit as enjoyable as possible."
Coun Williams said: "After two lousy Christmases through traffic chaos I’m sure that businesses in Blackpool will be horrified to hear that Yeadon Way is to close yet again until May 2020.
"There are also major roadworks on the A585 so essentially this council have added to the existing access problems and have once again ignored the cries from the people of Blackpool and stabbed our traders in the back.
"Don’t the council realise that Christmas trading is the one period in Blackpool when our retail operators actually have a chance of making money?
“It’s going to be another bleak New year for some businesses all down to the council’s Bah Humbug attitude and failing management.
“They are not rejuvenating the town they are torturing and killing it."
During the work, which starts from November 11, improvements to Yeadon Way will include replacing old concrete walls with new safety fencing as well as new support columns.
The road will be strengthened, alongside improvements to the overall look and general safety improvements, while a new drainage system incorporating new state-of-the-art technology will also be introduced.
The street lighting will also be upgraded .
Coun Fred Jackson, Blackpool Council Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “Completing this essential work will make sure this key route into Blackpool can continue to be used for many years to come.
“We have made sure that the work takes place outside of the summer and Illuminations season when the roads are busiest and are aiming to re-open the road in both directions as soon as possible.”