RESIDENTS and business owners in a Newport village say they are paying the price following the closure of the bridge connecting St Brides to Duffryn.
Pubs and restaurants in St Brides are seeing a drop in custom while residents are seeing their fuel costs increase due to the long diversions in place as work is carried out on the Pheasants overbridge.
The bridge, which carries the B4239 Lighthouse Road over the railway, closed November 5 and is not due to reopen until April 26 while Network Rail carry out essential improvements.
But the diversion route in place is a ten-mile trip compared to the usual two miles from Duffryn to St Brides over the bridge.
Owner of the Lighthouse Inn, Sara Price, said the number of customers visiting the pub for Sunday lunch is now at around 30, compared to 60 customers before the closure. She said: “People are not coming. There is no reason why they can’t open the road back up. They have done what they wanted to do.”
Sue Jones, who runs the Inn at the Elm Tree restaurant said all her passing-by trade has gone and that on a Saturday she used to have around 40 people but is now down to around 12.
She said: “My husband has had to go an collect customers in Duffryn due to them getting lost with the diversions.
One of the chefs at the restaurant Allan Price, who drives into work from Ebbw Vale and picks up a colleague in Duffryn, has to pay an extra £25-£30 a week on fuel due to the diversions in place.
Barry Hollidge-Green, of Lighthouse Park, said that with the extra mileage he is having to do while carrying out everyday tasks, he has estimated it will cost him an extra £350 in fuel during the closure.
He said: “The disruption is terrible.
Why could they not put a temporary bridge in to leave open for cars?”
‘The work is on schedule’
A SPOKESMAN for Network Rail said the new bridge at the site is being put together in three parts and that work will need to be done to ensure the new bridge is correctly in place with concrete.
Further work will then need to be done to restore utility services.
He said: “There are diversions in place.
“The work is on schedule and we do want to minimise disruption. If we can reopen the road earlier, we will.”