LONGER road closures for this Saturday’s Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic have sparked concern among Raglan Parade traders.
They are worried that Cycling Australia, the new organisers of the historic race, will close the west-bound lanes of Raglan Parade between Flaxman and Kepler streets from 10am to 4pm this Saturday — denying them crucial business on a peak trading day.
The west-bound section near the race finish, between Banyan and Liebig streets, will be closed for even longer — from 5.30am until 6.30pm.
The shutdowns are considerably longer than in previous years when the west-bound lanes of Raglan Parade were closed by police shortly before the first of the riders approached the Simpson Street intersection.
APCO Warrnambool service station manager Shirlene Ball said the six-hour closure would have a big impact on the petrol station.
“Six hours on the biggest (trading) day of the week is huge,” Ms Ball said.
She said the race organisers should consider having the race finish at a different location than near the intersection of Raglan Parade and Liebig Street to reduce the negative impact on businesses.
A spokesman for Goodyear Autocare said the road closure would force it to shut its doors on Saturday.
The spokesman said the business had only recently been notified of the longer closure times for Raglan Parade and there had not been enough consultation.
Barbeques Galore manager Terry O’Neill said it could only open on Saturday for one hour, from 9am-10am, under the new closure times.
Cycling Australia commercial director Michael Edgley said it had sought the road closures to enable workers to create “an event village” on Raglan Parade.
“Our workforce needs to gain access to that road,” Mr Edgley said.
He said more resources were being allocated to the race as part of the effort to upgrade it in future to an international classification cycling event.
More television broadcast facilities would be established at the race finish to provide vision for online race highlights to be transmitted on SBS television and a post-race program, he said.
Mr Edgley said he doubted the road closure would cause Raglan Parade businesses to lose trade in the long run because many of the race competitors would stay overnight in Warrnambool to compete in Sunday’s Shipwreck Coast Classic.
It was estimated the two events would bring more than 1000 people to stay overnight in Warrnambool, generating lots of trade for hospitality businesses.
Mr Edgley said Saturday’s 10am-4pm road closure would also accommodate the finish of the veteran cyclists’ annual Camperdown to Warrnambool bike race.
During the closure of Raglan Parade from Flaxman to Kepler streets, vehicles will be diverted on to Nicholson and Timor streets.
Vehicles crossing Raglan Parade should use Kepler Street or Derby Street/Bell Street.
Heavy vehicles will be permitted, under speed reduction, to continue westbound along Raglan Parade throughout the day.