West Norfolk could be grinding to a halt during the busy tourist season as eight weeks of roadworks are planned on the A47 outside Lynn, community and business leaders have warned.
The Highways Agency has announced traffic restrictions between the Pullover and Hardwick roundabouts as it begins work to repair three bridges from June 9.
A contraflow over two miles with 30mph speed restriction, enforced by speed cameras, will be in place.
Talks are being held in a bid to mitigate the impact on Lynn town centre.
There are also fears the roadworks could affect Hunstanton and the coast.
Richard Bird, county councillor for Hunstanton said: “This will create a thrombosis on the financial artery for Hunstanton and the coastal resorts. Why are they doing this now?”
The agency will be repairing and maintaining the River Great Ouse, River Nar and Harbour Junction bridges between the Pullover and Hardwick Roundabouts.
Main work on waterproofing and replacing bridge joints begins on June 21 and will be carried out from 7am to 7pm seven-days a week.
Advance work starts on June 9 but does not affect motorists.
A contraflow over two miles with 30mph speed restriction, enforced by speed cameras, will be in place from June 21. Overnight closures will be held between June 14 and 20 to install the temporary road layout . Diversions will be in place.
But the news has not gone down well with traders.
Jane Wallis, who runs The Pavilion in Hunstanton with husband Ian, is concerned the roadworks will put visitors off.
She said: “Why haven’t they realised that Hunstanton is busy during June, July and August and to do roadworks on a prominent road is ridiculous. Why couldn’t they do it in winter?
“If people get to the Hardwick and see the roadworks they may decide to go somewhere else.”
Gordon Chilvers, who owns businesses in both Hunstanton and Lynn, is concerned that shoppers may reduce their time in town due to the traffic.
He said: “People are going to be so fed up. If they have been stuck in traffic it may mean that they are going to spend less time in town.
“At the end of the day repairs have got to be done but the timing is not the best considering it is the start of the school holidays.”
Leader of West Norfolk Council Nick Daubney says his officers have been holding discussions with Norfolk County Council to see how the traffic problems could be mitigated in Lynn town centre.
He said: “It is going to be a frustrating experience for everyone concerned. We will do what we can to mitigate as much as possible.”
West Norfolk’s Supt Dennis Lacey said:“We’re always ready to work alongside our partners to ensure road repairs run as smoothly as possible and will monitor the area for any issues which may occur. I would advise motorists to avoid the area where possible and to always drive in accordance with the conditions.”
Highways Agency project manager Ranjit Mistry said: “This work will prolong the life of the bridges, maintaining safe and reliable journeys on this important route. Expansion joints do need replacing from time to time, and the current waterproofing is coming to the end of its life; replacing it now and carrying out any necessary concrete repairs to the bridge reduces the need for future maintenance and the associated disruption to road users.
“During the work we advise people to allow extra time for their journeys and be patient as they drive through the roadworks.”
The roadworks are due to finish in the first week of August.