A business owner says he is losing up to £400 a day due to delays caused by road closures.
David Warren, whose business is based at Sittingbourne’s Eurolink business park, is asking council to delay all non-essential roadwork until the M2 Junction 5 slip roads have reopened.
The Director of Astar Maintenance Contractors said: “We have a staff of 20 and we are working on contracts in Medway towns and locally for rental agents and estate agents.
“We mainly deal with planned works such as renovation of kitchens, wet rooms, bathrooms and also some reactive call works.
“For my company, travel is absolutely essential because we work every day in people’s homes.
“They normally wait for us there between eight and nine in the morning.
“Our clients have their own commitments such as school runs and they have to let us into the property so they can leave for work themselves.”
However, due to many motorists using Rainham and Sittingbourne as a detour for entry and exit slip closures to the M2 coast, the 57-year-old, from Minster, says traffic has a impact on everyone.
He said: “The effects of roadworks through Swale and Medway have been extremely detrimental to everyone.
“It’s not just the money this is costing us as a business, but also the disruption to our customers.
“I think we lose between £300 and £400 a day in lost productivity.
“It’s just because I have a large workforce and they’re mostly sitting in traffic doing roadwork trying to get to work.
“If we are doing response work, it can sometimes take an hour to get from one side of town to the other just because of road works and traffic jams.”
David, who is in charge of 20 workers and 10 vehicles, explained how he “fully understands” the ongoing work at Stockbury roundabout which will see the current junction replaced with a £92million flyover.
But with the ramps due to be closed until January, he wants someone to be held accountable for why so many other road closures are happening in the area at the same time.
He said: “I totally get the long-term benefits for the town in relation to the Stockbury roundabout roadworks, but the problem is that we also have the problem with all the other unrelated roadworks.
“There are secondary roads which are closed and numerous road closures between Sittingbourne and Faversham.
“The lower road at Teynham is closed, as is the lower road at Rainham and these are the routes that myself and my staff are using to try and bypass other roadworks on the A2 between Key Street and Newington.
“I think whoever took the decision to close these roads at exactly the same time we have major road works at Junction 5 on the M2 should be held accountable.
“It’s almost like they’re a faceless person and they have to be held to account because we’re really, really starting to struggle, especially with the money it’s costing us.”
Fortunately, the majority of David’s customers have not complained about the problems caused by the road works.
He said: “Overall our customers are understanding, but it’s frustrating for tenants because we constantly have to call them and say ‘I’m sorry we’re late’.
“During a trip, we might call a customer several times because we are always stuck in traffic.
“It’s a legitimate excuse but it’s not an excuse that doesn’t come without problems and frustrations.
“We constantly let people down because of the traffic in the area.
“I totally understand the Stockbury roundabout closures, but you can’t have all the other non-essential roadworks at the same time.
“This is significantly harming local businesses and council should seriously consider delaying these non-essential closures until the Junction 5 ramps reopen.”
Terry White also runs his business, T Cars, out of the business park.
The 73-year-old said: “We dread the thought of going out for work because the one that should take 10 minutes actually takes an hour.
“All of us business owners are sitting here in October not really knowing what’s planned for November and December.
“As far as we know, it could get even worse.
‘The town’s infrastructure is not made for this and all non-essential road works by the end of the Stockbury roundabout works should be cancelled.’
“The diversion routes used have been agreed with several local authorities and emergency services…”
Kent County Council and Medway Council have been contacted for comment.
National Highways has previously said it is doing all it can to encourage drivers to adhere to approved diversions.
Coastal M2 traffic to Sittingbourne and Sheppey is diverted via the A229 Blue Bell Hill, M20 and A249.
Anyone wishing to head towards the coast from Junction 5 is advised to use the M2 towards London to Junction 4 before backtracking.
“The diversion routes used have been agreed with several local authorities and emergency services,” a National Highways spokesperson said.
“They are clearly marked with yellow and black signs, as well as VMS signs from the M25.
“We communicated this closure well in advance through our website, bulletins, letters to residents, walk-in clinics and roadside signs.
“These closures will be monitored and reviewed as necessary.
“We are aware that these road works may cause delays and disruption, and we are grateful for the patience of people as we deliver this important upgrade at Junction 5 on the M2.”