TEN weeks of planned road closures along the Kings Highway has sparked concern among “frustrated” Braidwood business owners who fear their businesses may suffer.
Transport for NSW will close the Kings Highway over the Clyde Mountain from August 30 until at least the middle of November for the removal of unstable trees — burnt in the 2019-20 bushfires — from the side of the road.
Braidwood businesses have already endured a decrease in traffic and decline in business as a result of the bushfires and covid restrictions.
John Woodman, the owner of the well-known Braidwood Bakery, says “frustrated” business owners were given little notice of the upcoming road closures.
“I heard whispers about it a few weeks ago and thought surely not now?” Mr Woodman says.
“As far as I’m aware there’s been no community consultations, it’s just not the right time to be doing this, with everything that’s going on in the world and with all the adversities, they go and take away our main source of revenue.”
The highway will be closed from River Forest Road to Misty Mountain Road during work hours for four days a week, according to Transport for NSW.
It’s understood that 400 trees on the Clyde Mountain section of the highway will be removed as they pose a safety risk to road users.
Whilst Mr Woodman understands the need for the work to be undertaken, he questions why it couldn’t have been done at night.
“Does the work have to be done now, can it be done at night, can one lane be kept open?” Mr Woodman says.
“No one has officially come to the business owners to say this is what we are planning to do. We had no input. It would have been nice to be involved in the consultation.
“There’s been road closures before but they are spasmodic or one off but this will be back to back.”
But Transport for NSW regional director south, Sam Knight said the work needs to be undertaken during the daylight due to the nature of the work.
“This work must be carried out under full road closure of the Kings Highway during the day as there would be an unacceptable safety risk if the work was carried out at night,” Ms Knight said.
Mr Woodman, who bought the bakery in 2005, says its been a “tough” few years, describing a 15-20 per cent loss in turnover recently.
“We are shutting early of an afternoon, other businesses are shutting a few days a week, we are all having to adjust to the changing environment,” he says.
The affected stretch of road will remain open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, as well as public holidays and school holidays.
The alternative route for Canberrans travelling to the coast could add up to five-and-a-half hours of travel time, according to Transport for NSW.
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