A collapsed Claudy bridge could take two years to be fully repaired, business owners in the stricken village have been told.
A meeting has been called by local Independent Unionist Councillor Maurice Devenney for next Friday, October 6, to discuss the urgent issues facing local businesses.
“We need to know what can be done and how soon,” he said.
“Money from the Department of Infrastructure needs to be forthcoming immediately because businesses are suffering badly.”
Next Friday’s meeting will be held in the Diamond Centre in the village at 3.30 p.m. with Department representatives, local councillors and MLAs attending.
Businesswoman Nicola Bradley, who runs ‘The New You’ Salon in the village, says the situation is bad now, but can only get worse as winter approaches.
“The first couple of weeks after the storms, business was down 50 percent,” she noted.
“It has picked up a little from that, but I have lost all foot traffic and all school traffic as, for many people, it is a 13-miles round trip to get to my salon.
“When the bridge collapsed four weeks ago we were told it might take one year to 18 months to have the bridge repaired.
“Since then we have been told it could take one to two years!
“Businesses in Eglinton and Tullyally have received help and in Donegal a temporary bridge has beenconstructed, but nothing appears to be happening here.
“And it’s not just me, all the businesses in Claudy are affected and people are telling me that if something is not done, they are going have to shut up shop completely, which is a shame.”
With the main bridge on Church Street currently out of action, some traffic - including heavy lorries and buses - have been using the bridge on the Cregg Road as an alternative route.
And there are now fears that if that practise continues for the long-term, it could be badly damaged or even be in danger of collapsing as well.
“Those roads become almost impassable in bad weather and with winter coming, you just can’t rely on that as the source of traffic to the village,” Nicola added.
“These bridges were designed for horses and carts, not lorries and buses.”