Businesses are doing it tough in the Ashburton suburb of Tinwald amid a sea of road cones.
The Tinwald improvement project along State Highway 1 has led to business dropping by up to 40% in recent weeks, according to shop owners.
Owners want the public to know they're still open for business, despite the sea of orange cones and project delays.
Tinwald Supervalue owner Gaylene Thompson said it felt like the middle of winter, with business down around 20% from what it normally is at this time of year.
“We are seeing our regulars for sure, but the ones that would have stopped in because it’s convenient, it’s currently not convenient.
“It’s having a significant impact and it’s not just us, it’s all the majority of the businesses in the stretch.”
The project is centred on the installation of traffic signals at the intersection of State Highway 1, Agnes St, and Lagmhor Rd, with an upgraded rail level crossing on Lagmhor Rd.
At the moment, the northbound traffic can’t turn into the car parks or park on the roadside. For southbound traffic, the entries are in the blur of road cones and can be sporadically closed.
There are also associated roadworks on the neighbouring side roads.
With no convenient access, Lizzy’s Dairy owner Michelle Lin said business dropped by 40% when the road changes started three weeks ago, and was down 30% last week.
Lin has spoken to several neighbouring owners, who also reported business being down by at least 20%.
“People do not want to stop and if they do, they have to wait a long time to get back on the road because of the traffic.
“It’s very hard.”
Produce Pals owner Dean Gibson said it’s frustrating as the works are taking longer than they had been told.
“We have been trying some pretty good specials to keep people coming but have certainly noticed the decrease.
“It will be good once it’s done but they should have been more realistic with us from the start when they told us it would be two weeks - and now we are well over that.”
Thompson, Lin, and Dean all agreed the roadworks would be an improvement once completed, but the short-term impact has been worse than anticipated.
An end is in sight, as Waka Kothai said “work on the project is progressing well”.
“Due to the SH1 resurfacing being more complex than first thought, the work programme has been extended,” a spokesperson said.
“It will be completed before work finishes up for the year on December 21.
“The new traffic signals are expected to be switched on early in 2024.”
All road closures will be lifted from December 21 and any exposed areas will be tidied up.
Work on the project will resume on January 9.
“We will come back and complete the final work on the SH1/Lagmhor Road/Agnes St intersection before switching our attention to the viaduct and the Grahams Street/SH1 intersection.”
The KiwiRail line block in October meant all the planned work in the rail corridor had been completed.
The project is on track to be completed in mid-2024.
By Jonathan Leask