Headache for Prince Street shops

CONCRETE, jackhammers and traffic chaos are the latest additions to Grafton's Prince Street.

Stage three of the Roads and Traffic Authority's (RTA) upgrade to pedestrian crossings has begun, with Clarence Valley Council workers extending the kerb at the Pound Street intersection, reducing the two lanes to just one outside the Clock Tower Hotel.

For local businesses, the work has meant fewer car parks on Prince Street and construction on their doorstep.

Take 5 Coffee Lounge owner Cheryl Wray said although the changes on Pound Street diverted pedestrian traffic past her shop, business had actually slowed as a result of the noise across the road.

“It's been pretty quiet ... no-one wants to sit outside because it's too noisy,” she said.

At Fish, Scales and Furry Tails on Prince Street, two car parks have been roped off.

Employee Maree King said the business was told of the decision to reduce parking last week and thought the work could increase accidents in the area.

“People have to do laps to find a park,” she said. “It's a busy area, even without all this, there have been some near-misses.”

Optus Shop manager Rebecca Bailey said motorists blared their horns all day in frustration, with little success.

“It hasn't slowed anyone down,” she said.

She was also concerned some customers may be deterred from entering shops as a result of the construction.

An RTA spokesman said the work was part of a state-wide upgrade to pedestrian crossings on multi-lane government-controlled roads, announced by the Roads Minister in May 2006.

He said Prince Street was identified by Clarence Valley Council and the RTA as a site for improvement. The project is expected to be completed by September.

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