Derrinallum bomb blast: Mortlake traders feel the pinch as motorists avoid Hamilton Highway

TOWNS along the Hamilton Highway are feeling the pinch of road closures following the devastating explosion at Derrinallum last weekend.

The Hamilton Highway remains closed between Lismore and Darlington as bomb squad detectives sift through what remains of Glenn Sander's property looking for clues and further explosive devices.

Traders in Derrinallum and Lismore have reported sharp downturns in trade, but the effects are being felt further west along the highway.

Businesses in Mortlake have also reported a quieter week as through-traffic seeks alternate routes along the Princes and Glenelg highways.

Member for Polwarth Terry Mulder told The Standard yesterday it was difficult for the state government to step in because of the ongoing police operation.

"We understand it's normally a busy time of year for businesses in the area. I'll be having discussions with the Premier and as soon as the police operation is over, we will sit down with business owners to talk about some form of assistance," Mr Mulder said.

"But at the moment it's impossible for us to step in while the police operation is ongoing."

Mortlake Community Development Committee (MCDC) secretary Kelvin Goodall said there had been a noticeable downturn in traffic passing through the town.

"I live on the highway and have noticed that there haven't been as many trucks passing though this week," he said.

"There hasn't been anywhere near as many caravan or campers coming through either. Dunlop Street was pretty quiet in the lead up to the Easter long weekend."

Clarkes Cloverleaf Cafe proprietor Rob Hargreaves said his trade had been in a big downturn since the highway was closed last Saturday.

He estimated business had been cut in half.

"We've really noticed it. We've had to send staff home early just because they aren't needed," Mr Hargreaves said.

"Normally in the lead up to the Easter long weekend we're run off out feet. But this year we've noticed it's been very quiet, there just isn't the through traffic we normally have."

Mortlake Roadhouse owner Dion Symons observed there were not as many trucks passing through the town as normal.

"They can't really take back roads so they are just going straight through to the Princes Highway I suppose," he said.

"Other than that we've been doing okay. There still seems to be a few people coming down."

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