Port Fairy East Beach traders are preparing to count the cost of Gipps Street bridge works

Eastern Beach Holiday Units owners have estimated Port Fairy bridge works will cost them up to $10,000 in lost trade. 

Works to begin: The Gipps Street bridge will be closed to traffic from October 10 while Moyne Shire conduct works.

Works to begin: The Gipps Street bridge will be closed to traffic from October 10 while Moyne Shire conduct works.

Moyne Shire will close the historic Gipps Street bridge to traffic in October, forcing vehicles to enter the main street and much of the town via the Princes Highway.

People on the eastern side of town will have to make a 14-kilometre round trip, rather than driving for a couple of minutes across the bridge into town.

The minimum two-week closure is anticipated to start on October 10. Pedestrians will still be allowed across the bridge.

Eastern Beach Holiday Units owner Paulette Whitfield said she would inform guests this week about the works and was prepared for cancellations. 

The six units are usually at 80 per cent occupancy during the first two weeks of October.

“It will cost us $10,000 to close for the two weeks,” she said. “The council don’t understand the inconvenience. It does cost us a lot.”

Mrs Whitfield said they would assess trade during the first week and close for the second week if it was quiet. 

“The works will affect us because people won’t be able to come over the bridge. It will affect us significantly. I’m concerned that it will drag out and it will be difficult,” she said.

Charlie’s on East owner William Foran will close for two weeks, after taking into account the cost of wages and food wastage if patrons didn’t come.

Mr Foran said while it was easy to calculate his losses now, the unknown completion date was a concern. “My biggest fear is if it doesn’t open in a fortnight, he said. “That will hurt us.”

East Beach Takeaway owners Con and Voula Maglaras are also expecting a decrease in trade. They plan to open as normal, but will reassess their decision after the first week.

She expects the busy lunch period to slow due to less traffic in the area. “We hope it will be okay. We hope the customers will still come.” 

RELATED: Bridge shutdown

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