Motorists today discovered a major North Devon road will be shut for several days while sewage works are carried out.
A section of the A377 near Umberleigh will be closed from today until Friday, May 10.
Devon County Council said the road would be shut between Langham Bridge Cross, which is near Chapelton, and Pound Lane End, near Umberleigh, for the three days.
Diversions will send drivers from Chapelton, up to the A361 and down to South Molton. Diversions from the Umberleigh side will direct traffic along to South Molton and up the A361. Signs advising of the closure appeared on the road at the weekend.
Gerald Colwill, owner of Murco Service Station on the A377 which sits in the middle of the closure, estimates the total loss to his business could be in the region of £10,000 if the road is closed until Thursday.
He also said he was given no prior warning of the closure by Devon County Council’s highways department.
“The only time I noticed any signs was on Sunday morning when I drove back from Barnstaple,” he said.
“When I rang the highways they said as it was an emergency resurfacing job they were not legally obliged to give any notice.
“There is a lot of confusion among local people. We don’t seem to know what is happening. They were very vague about it.
“The sign says it will be closed until tomorrow (May 8) but we have heard it could be closed until Thursday.
“It is seriously damaging to our business. We stand to lose around £6,000 from the shop alone. It will be probably between £9,000 and £10,000 in total.
Mr Colwill has owned the garage with his wife Janet for nine years.
He said the week following a bank holiday is always busy, meaning the effects of the closure will be felt even more.
“The sad thing is the week following any bank holiday is the week when a lot of people come down and spend time here,” he added.
“In this tough economic time this is not ideal.
“I accept these things have to be done but even a telephone call would have helped, just to explain.”
Mr Colwill is keen to stress to drivers they can still access the petrol station during the closure.
A Devon County Council spokesman said: “We apologise for the short notice but these are emergency works to replace the drainage on this section of the A377 as part of our on-going flood recovery efforts following the extensive damage sustained across Devon in recent months.
“To minimise disruption as much as possible we are ensuring that patching works are also carried out during this closure, and signs are in place saying businesses are open as usual.”
It was also confirmed the works are scheduled to last until May 9.