BUSINESSES which have endured two years of road closures and traffic chaos have spoken out about the impact of the £6.5 million scheme.

Peter Browning, director of Calibre Car Sales, on the nearby Cowdray Avenue, said: “We are affected by the works but it is a job to tell if it’s had any substantial impact on business.

“People might not want to come down here because of the roadworks and the mess of traffic.

“But on the other hand as they’re all jammed up outside our business, we have a captive audience of people slowly going past.

“At first we thought ‘this is a nightmare and it is a pain’.

“If we want to get somewhere, or take a car somewhere, it can be really bad.

“But as far as sales or advertising go, we can’t say for certain what impact it has had.

“That isn’t to say we aren’t sick of it.

“The question is, two years and millions of pounds later, whether it will now make any difference.

“We will see soon enough.”

He added: “I do have my views about the company doing the work, the contractors seem to be understaffed.

“At times it has seemed like they have five people working when they need 25.

“To see them knocking off at 4pm, or nobody working nights, Saturday or Sunday, isn’t great.

“It’s taken two years, when they said it would be 18 months.”

Last year, Darren Linsey, the owner of the Old Siege House Bar and Brasserie, in East Street, said the scheme was destroying his business.

Earlier this year he told the Gazette customers were avoiding the area because of traffic caused by the ongoing works.

He said: “We can’t blame them because if it takes an extra half an hour or an hour to get here I can understand why they don’t come.”

Anne Khan, who owns Rollerworld with her husband, Jason, said the works had a “damaging” impact on the business.

“Over the past six months, with Covid and when we were shut, it hasn’t made a big difference,” she said.

“But since we opened over the past five weeks it has made a big difference.

“It has been a difficult time anyway so it is hard to judge how much of a difference but people have been struggling to get here and have been late for sessions.

“The council has been about as useful as a chocolate teapot.

“We get some information on a road closure and say ‘We are due to open this weekend’, they will just say ‘That’s how it is and that’s what has to be done’.”

She added: “However, if the works are done then absolutely, it is something to be celebrated.”

Kevin Bentley, Essex county councillor responsible for infrastructure, said he sympathised with impacted businesses.

“We had some of the best people possible in Eurovia on this.

“It is not a roadwork scheme, it is a major investment in a huge piece of infrastructure.

“I am so proud of everyone who has worked on this, especially when some of them have taken abuse.

“They have got it done, even when it called for some of the most complicated engineering and utility works Colchester has ever seen.”

He added: “Businesses have had information at every stage and we have had businesses in to speak at County Hall.

“I understand their frustration although we have made sure to never cut off businesses completely.”