A PUB landlord says a six-month closure of the A40 near Longhope was the worst thing that has happened to his business in over 22 years.

The major route connecting the Forest with Gloucester and Ross-on-Wye finally reopened last week as a major project to rebuild the carriageway following a landslip nears completion.

National Highways announced on Thursday, February 23 that the road would partially reopen the following day (Friday, February 24) for the first time since August.

It follows £3.5 million works to repair a collapsed embankment and relay the carriageway near Glasshouse Lane at Dursley Cross.

The reopening was welcomed by locals, with the closure having disrupted daily travel for thousands of commuters and HGVs.

People who commented on the Ross-on-Wye Noticeboard on Facebook said: “Thought it was never going to happen!”

Another said: “Hallelujah!”

A local resident who shared The Forester’s article about the reopening said: “Hopefully it’ll relieve some of the pressure on the surrounding areas.”

The closure also saw several local businesses take a big hit in passing trade, with Phil Kiernan, who owns The Farmer's Boy Inn in Longhope, saying in November that his business was missing out on an average of £3,000 a week, with no compensation available. 

On how the closure has affected trade recently, Phil said: “It’s been the worst thing in over 22 years that has happened to our business.

“Soul destroying if I’m honest.”

He added: “People are creatures of habit so we will have to market the FBI vicariously over the next few months.

“British Pies Awards, Mother’s Day, Cheltenham Gold Cup week and St Paddies day should all help.

“We lost close to £90k, which will never be retrieved.

“Mark Harper didn’t or couldn’t help us and insurance wouldn’t pay out as it was a road closure.

“The Forest of Dean council didn’t even reduce our business rates. A total disgrace especially with the cost-of-living crisis and what’s happening in the world.

“The roads companies must in the future be liable to pay all businesses affected. We didn’t ask for this.”

Following the landslip last year, the A40 eastbound carriageway was initially closed with temporary traffic signals to enable assessment and survey work and the reduction of water levels.

The road has been fully closed since August between Saunders Close and Sterrys Lane to enable contractors South West Highways (Eurovia) to undertake the complex second phase of the scheme to reconstruct the embankment and carriageway.

During the 24/7 closure, local traffic has been diverted via the A4136 to Longhope and the B4224 to rejoin the A40, with HGVs and through traffic diverted via the A417 to Bromsbarrow and the M50 to Ross-on-Wye.

The eastbound carriageway has now been reopened, with two-way traffic signals in place until replanting and de-mobilisation work has been completed.

This work is scheduled to finish next month, at which point all traffic management will be removed.