RESIDENTS and traders in Weymouth and Portland are facing an autumn of traffic discontent as yet another roadworks project is ann-ounced for the borough.

Ferrybridge on the main Weymouth-Portland route will be reduced to one lane for four weeks from Monday, Sept-ember 20, while work is carried out to the bridge.

It starts on the same day that Swannery Bridge in Weymouth becomes one-way to allow for a six-week project, and while other major works continue in the area.

Dorset County Council and the utility companies are getting on with work now, before next July’s deadline when the Olympic Route Network has to be clear.

Some traders are concerned to hear more works are planned when roads are already gridlocked.

Wyke Regis garage owner Nigel Dowsett has resorted to taking his cars out of town to show potential customers because he says some people are refusing to come over the Ridgeway for fear of being trapped on congested roads.

Mr Dowsett said: “More works are going to make a bad situation even worse.

“How do you pay the bills, keep customers satisfied and keep the bank happy when you can’t move?

“This work should be split up over time.”

Manager of Windtek on Portland Road Nick Russell suspects the firm will suffer a lack of repeat business as customers are put off coming to Weymouth.

He said: “Portland hosted the Sail for Gold event last month and there were more competitors at that than there will be at the Olympics.

“So why all the improvements? Save the money and give it to the hungry and homeless.”

He added: “The saving grace with the Ferrybridge works is that it’s towards the end of the season.”

A spokesman for the First Dorset bus company said: “We have met with Dorset County Council to discuss our concerns about the roadworks.

“As a business we have experienced significant disruption as a result of the work being carried out and this has, inevitably, led to frustration both internally – as we try, in the face of adversity, to deliver a punctual and reliable service – and externally among our customer base, who have found their own journeys disrupted and delayed.

“We do, however, understand that there is never any gain without some pain, and so we eagerly anticipate the end of the road works and a return to normal as quickly as possible.”

Boss of Weyline taxis Ian Ferguson said: “We have to bow down to the wisdom of the planners and accept the improvements will be worthwhile.

“It’s like having a plaster on and whether you pull it off slowly or quickly.”

County councillor for Portland Tim Munro said: “The work has to be done but it’s having a huge impact on people and a nightmare if you’re travelling from Portland.

“I think there could have been better planning.”

Traffic will be reduced to one lane across Ferrybridge for four weeks while Dorset County Council refurbishes the bridge joints and re-waterproofs its deck.

Working hours will be from 7am to midnight with traffic lights in place 24 hours a day. A 10mph speed limit will be in place through the works area.

Pedestrian movements are unaffected.

Dorset County Council strategic projects manager Matthew Piles said: “The bridge maintenance is weather dependent. It was not feasible to do it during the summer holidays and that has left a small window of opportunity to do the works now.”