Call to halt Weymouth and Portland's Olympic road works

image captionThe £9m Olympic Transport Package aims to ease congestion through Weymouth and Portland

Businesses in Dorset are calling for a halt to £9m of road works being carried out ahead of the Olympic 2012 sailing events, saying they are losing money.

Traders complain that the improvements to roundabouts and junctions in Weymouth and Portland mean short journeys can take up to an hour.

During a public meeting on Tuesday, they called for a six-week halt to the works in the run-up to Christmas.

The county council said the area would benefit in the long term from the work.

Last month, the council called for calm after verbal attacks on maintenance staff carrying out the work.

Pete Smith, who runs the Number Six bar in Weymouth, said: "There's a number of people I've spoken to recently, from carpet fitters, to taxi drivers, to delivery men, and it's taken them 25 minutes to drive a mile.

"It's just not viable any more. People are just losing money."

As well as the £9m Olympic Transport Package, which aims to ease congestion through Weymouth and Portland, an £87m relief road is being built from Dorchester in a bid to get motorists to the coast more quickly.

Councillor Peter Finney, who is responsible for roads, said: "I have enormous sympathy for the traders, however, what we are doing is putting in six years' worth of work in a couple of years.

"They're going to have one of the best roads in the county... and altogether it should be one of the best areas in the country to set up a new business."

Weymouth and Portland will play host to 400 international sailors at the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The events are to be held at the new-look Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy at Osprey Quay.

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