The Highways Agency has apologised to local businesses for inconvenience caused by the temporary closure of the A11 Fiveways roundabout.
Owners of the Bull Inn pub at Barton Mills said footfall was down 50 per cent on Saturday following the first phase of the closure, which affected the A11 northbound and A1101 exit/entrance to Mildenhall between 10pm on Friday and 6am on Monday.
Cheryl Hickman said traffic had been a “total nightmare” and that diversions put in place had taken motorists on hour-long detours through Worlington.
“The Bull Inn is a coaching inn and, as such, relies heavily on passing trade,” said Cheryl.
“The Government is supposed to be supporting the licensed trade and small businesses and I’m totally shocked at how the Highways Agency has dealt with this.”
Cheryl was left waiting until the day before the first closure to hear whether the Highways Agency would provide extra signage.
“They provided one sign saying ‘businesses in Mildenhall and Red Lodge open as usual’ but traffic was a total nightmare,” she said.
“This weekend will have another big impact because we still need to pay our full-time staff, but people seem to be avoiding the area in general.”
The closures are part of major reconstruction work to complete the dualling of the road between the M11 and Norwich.
The second phase starts from 10pm tomorrow to 6am on Monday, affecting the A11 northbound and exit/entrance of the A1065 Brandon Road.
The third phase will close the A11 southbound and exit/entrance at the A1101 to Bury St Edmunds from 8pm on Friday, October 18, to 5am on Monday, October 21.
A fourth weekend of October 25 to October 27 will be used if required.
A Highways Agency spokeswoman said: “We can only apologise for any inconvenience the closures will cause for local businesses. We have done everything we can to reduce the impact of the reconstruction of the Fiveways roundabout. The A11 is a lifeline for companies alongside the road and wider afield and, as a result of the work we are doing, this can only be improved for the long term.
“We have been speaking to local businesses about the planned closures for a number of months now. We take our responsibility to engage with them really seriously, so we can only apologise to The Bull for the time it took us to respond to them about the signing.”
Visit www.highways.gov.uk for more information and details of diversions.