Fratton Bridge southbound lane to close for three weeks from tomorrow - and businesses describe work as ‘a nightmare’

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ROADWORKS will close off a busy city carriageway for three weeks from tomorrow.

The southbound lane at Fratton Bridge will shut off to motorists tomorrow morning as SGN carries out the second phase of gas works.

Drivers travelling toward Southsea will be diverted via Arundel Street and Holbrook Road, to the roundabout at the junction of Victoria Road North and Winston Churchill Avenue.

Fratton Bridge’s northbound lane – which has been closed since Monday, June 4 – will reopen.

SGN has been working for the past three weeks to install a new gas pressure regulator and repair an existing one.

Before the work took place, The News spoke to nearby businesses – who expressed their fears about the effect the maintenance could have on trade.

The southbound lane at Fratton Bridge, which will be closed tomorrow. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

The southbound lane at Fratton Bridge, which will be closed tomorrow. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

And with the northbound closure set to move tomorrow, they said their worries came true over the past three weeks.

Gareth Mein is a manager at Comunique 8 in Fratton Road – a store specialising in computer repairs and hardware.

He said the work had been a ‘nightmare’.

He added: ‘We have had fewer customers coming into our shop because people are avoiding this area – all of the businesses have.

‘Not only that, but I live in Eastney and it has been really bad getting to work as well.

‘We’re definitely looking forward to seeing the back of it.’

Also based in Fratton Road, Dan Carrott is a warehouse assistant at Direct Carpet Centre.

He said the works had been a ‘pain’ up until now – but would only get worse.

He said: ‘Most of our deliveries are in Southsea, so this southbound closure will mean going round Arundel Street and spending more time out on the road.

‘The closures so far have been quite a pain and they have meant we’ve had to change the way we work.’

The £729,000 plan has also been criticised by the leader of Portsmouth City Council, Gerald Vernon-Jackson, who wrote to SGN calling for teams to work longer hours to finish the job sooner.

The correspondence led to the company upping its working hours at the site to 7am until 7pm on weekdays and 9am until 4pm at weekends.