Local residents are imploring people to continue to support businesses in White Hills amid concerns the area is losing shoppers.
Residents Bill Knight and Wendy Betts said businesses along Napier Street were reporting drops in trade.
They expected limited parking and reduced foot traffic expected to continue over the winter months as roadworks continued.
“It’s not a grumble about having a new road, at all. We badly need a new avenue out of Bendigo that will clear the traffic quickly,” Mr Knight said.
Mr Knight’s message was to shoppers, saying the area could lose its identity without the businesses along the main strip.
Mr Knight said older generations lived in the area and the shops were the most convenient to get to.
“What shops are saying is that a lot of their sales have gone down already and once people start shopping somewhere else it’s very rare that they return,” Mr Knight said.
Karen Richardson from Richardson’s Bakery said roadworks were making it harder for businesses along the strip, though VicRoads workers were doing their best to mitigate any issues.
There was less foot traffic both for her store and one of the stores she supplied in the area, which had impacted on the amount of food being ordered.
White Hills Pharmacy owner Sanjay Jhaveri said one issue local shops were expecting once roadworks ended was limited parking along Napier Street, potentially discouraging people from stopping off at those shops.
The pharmacy and neighbouring shops had considered practical solutions to ensure more spaces for nearby parking, including changing where staff left their cars. That way, people could more easily find parks out the back of the pharmacy and on nearby roads.
“Another thing for us to do is increase people’s awareness about parking around the back of the launderette and near the bakery. Those spaces will still be available, so it won’t be a complete loss,” he said.
He said those parking spaces were currently underutilised.
The $30.4 million Napier Street upgrade was funded by the Victorian government and aimed to improve traffic flow and transport options between Weeroona Avenue and Hall Street.