A MAJOR road in Oxford could be reopened as soon as the end of the week, frustrated traders were told last night.

Extensive repairs to Iffley Road have seen traffic diverted on to the already busy Cowley Road via a one-way system using Temple Street and Stockmore Street while part of Iffley Road has been closed to traffic.

Businesses operating near the diversion have reported standstill traffic from The Plain roundabout up to the light-controlled junction for most of the day – and are concerned it is affecting trade.

Gary Good, who runs the Music Box in Cowley Road, said: “People can’t get down the Cowley Road because there are traffic jams all the time and they are just avoiding the place. It’s gridlock all the time.”

The scheme started on May 16 and during the work, parking has been suspended and bus stops have been moved.

Mr Good said buses were struggling to make the sharp turn out of Temple Street on to Cowley Road.

He said: “Any buses that would be going to or from Littlemore or Rose Hill are now going along the Cowley Road.

“Temple Street is such a narrow road, it’s a bit of a mess.”

He said the lack of parking and traffic problems in an already quiet time of year were making it a difficult climate for businesses.

During the work in Iffley Road, carriageways are being reconstructed, drains, kerbs and footways improved and two new zebra crossings are being installed near Stockmore Street and Percy Street.

It is also planned to improve side road junctions to make it easier for pedestrians to cross, and for the northbound cycle lane to be extended all the way to Donnington Bridge Road.

Once the closed section of Iffley Road reopens, work will move to the section between Stockmore Street and James Street.

The Marston Street/Iffley Road junction will be closed while it is carried out. One lane will be closed and traffic will be controlled by lights.

Oxfordshire County Council’s transport cabinet member Rodney Rose said: “We’re doing our best to get the job done and to minimise the disruption as far as possible, but unfortunately a project of this nature will always take a significant amount of time and inevitably cause some inconvenience.

“We hope to be able to reopen Iffley Road with temporary traffic lights by the end of the week, and ultimately to finish the whole of the first phase ahead of schedule.”

The first phase of the work was originally expected to finish early next March, with the second and final phase due to be completed by the end of November 2012.

While Mr Rose said the work is ahead of schedule, he could not say when it is expected it to be finished.