BUSINESSES are gearing up for disruption after learning that one of Newport’s main routes will be closed for up to seven months from May.

Network Rail has announced the Bridge Street Road Bridge will be entirely shut for electrification work on the South Wales Mainline from May 3 until late 2016.

The bridge, built in 1911, will eventually be replaced but before that a complex programme to move utilities buried under the road will be undertaken.

Road diversions will be in place for the work’s duration and pedestrians can use the neighbouring footbridge.

A number of bridges across Gwent are currently being totally replaced or modified as part of the vast electrification work, including the Cardiff Road and Somerton bridges in Newport.

The owner of Clytha Park Road’s La Pizzeria takeaway, Erdogan Bulut, said he worried how the Bridge Street closure will affect how quickly deliveries can be done.

He said: “Even if the bridge is open it is quite busy [on Bridge Street and Clytha Park Road]. I can’t imagine what will happen between 4pm until 6.30pm once the bridge is closed. Traffic is everywhere. If they close this bridge [traffic] is going to stay until 7pm, 7.30pm and when we try to send a driver out it might take much longer.

“It is not going to affect the customer; it is going to affect us sending the food to the customer, even if you have to go two streets away.”

Dave Roberts, who runs restaurant Meat on Clytha Park Road, said he was “disappointed” with the way he found out about the closures on Twitter and not directly from Network Rail or Newport City Council.

But he added he was optimistic that advertising for local businesses, which he said Network Rail have agreed to install on the closed bridge, would be a positive move.

Network Rail’s programme manager Andrew Griffiths said: ‘‘Electrifying the railway will mean less noise and pollution for those who live close to the railway line in and around Newport. The increasing numbers of passengers using the railway will also benefit from faster, quieter, more reliable services once this programme of work is completed as part of our £40 billion Railway Upgrade Plan.

‘‘We would like to thank the general public in advance for their patience while this essential upgrade work is completed.’’

Network Rail will be hosting drop-in centres across Newport over coming weeks on the electrification project.

They will be at Newport Indoor Market on Tuesday from 10.30am until 2.30pm and on Thursday at the Share Centre on Stow Hill from 3.30pm until 7pm.

Other sessions will be held at Stow Park Community Centre on Monday, March 21 from 3pm until 7pm; at the market on Wednesday, March 23 and Thursday, April 28 from 10.30am until 2.30pm and at St Woolos Cathedral on Wednesday, April 27 from 3pm until 7pm.