A bridge too far for petrol station boss

A BUSINESS owner fears for the future of his petrol station after more than a year since measures to narrow a road were imposed because of a weak bridge.

Abdullatif Bhikha, franchise owner of the Murco garage in Geddington Road, Corby, said petrol sales have halved and the sale of items in his shop has dropped by a third since concrete bollards restricting heavy vehicles from using the nearby bridge were installed.

He said: “It has affected us as a business. I’ve spoken to my neighbours and their concerns are exactly the same. So many people are avoiding it.

“I spoke to somebody who comes in and she said she has to go the long-way around – she can’t go through the narrowed road as she is scared.

“When we first received the letter from the council I thought it would maybe be a few days of roadworks.

“My night staff told me they have seen people looking at the bridge but they have not done any repair work. I just want to see something happen.”

Northamptonshire County Council imposed an immediate ban on vehicles weighing more than three tonnes from using the road after stating the bridge was an “immediate risk” to the public because it was in danger of collapsing in January last year. The bollards were installed after some drivers of heavy vehicles ignored the signs.

Mr Bhikha wrote to Tata Steel, which owns the bridge, to demand action. In a letter Tata said it was “sorry” to hear of Mr Bhikha’s difficulties and hoped for a resolution in the “near future”.

Mr Bhikha added: “I don’t think the council and Tata realise how it has affected us. They should compensate us in full.”

Tata spokesman Robert Dangerfield said: “We are in constant consultation with the local authority and we look forward to a speedy resolution, as everyone else does.”

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council declined to say whether any legal action would be taken.

The spokesman said: “We are currently in discussions with Tata Steel about what work is required on the Geddington Road bridge in Corby.”