Engineers working on a collapsed sewer have said emergency action was needed because of a build up of fat and oil in the system.
United Utilities began work on Tithebarn Street, Poulton, on January 11, causing long delays for traffic – just months after the same part of town was closed to prepare the Blackpool North to Poulton railway line for electrification.
Traders claimed the roadworks on a major route through the town made the shopping district a “ghost town” as people avoided the area.
As engineers worked to re-open the road over the weekend, bosses at the wastewater company apologised for the inconvenience caused, explaining the blockages were due to fats and oils being poured down drains.
Polly Rourke said: “We’re very sorry to our customers whose daily routines will have been affected by the work in Poulton.
“Our engineers have been working tirelessly to fix the damaged sewer pipe and reopen the road as quickly as possible. While investigating the cause we have found large clumps of solidified fats and oil.
“We have now managed to clear the area and the road was opened last night.”
Traders told how Poulton became a “ghost town”.
Shops recently put up with six months of roadworks between January and May last year when Tithebarn Street bridge was closed to prepare the Blackpool North to Poulton railway line for electrification.
Mark Keegan, of Fylde Travel, on Market Square, added: “Poulton is like a ghost town. The footfall is even worse than what it is normally.
“I probably have the prime spot in Poulton but there’s nobody about.”
Wayne Gardiner, owner of The Lunchbox, on Ball Street, added: “It’s affecting Poulton quite badly.
“I’ve seen a significant decrease in customers and you can see on the streets that footfall and traffic is down.
“It’s definitely had an impact and it’s a bad time for it being January because it’s primarily a slow month.
“It’s more disruption and, as a town and a business, we incurred five months of closures last year and that hurt a lot of people.”