Traders in Crewkerne are pushing the message that the town is open for business amid a 40-day closure of a major road which could also affect surrounding villages.
East Street, one of the town’s main entrance roads closed on Monday to allow contractors to start work on replacing a 646-metre stretch of gas main.
Morrison Utility Services is carrying out the £170,000 scheme which will see the road closed until Friday, March 1.
Wales and West Utilities, which has scheduled the work, said Goulds Brook Terrace, Orchard Lane, East Street, Mount Pleasant, Court Barton, Church Street and Market Square will also be affected during the work.
But businesses are pushing for shoppers not to be put off coming into Crewkerne.
Glynnis Senior, of the Vintage Shoppe and the Crewkerne Area Business Chamber, said: “It has been handled very well, there’s been consultations with the Chamber and with local residents to try to reduce the impact.
“Of course it’s going to impact on us but they have done everything they possibly to keep on to things.
“We’re going to be handing out leaflets and we’ve been speaking about putting a big picture at the entrance to the town saying business is open as usual.
“Shoppers shouldn’t be put off, we are very much still open.”
Adam Loder, owner of Number 5 the deli and Number 7 the cafe said: “We will need to see how things go over the next few weeks but at the moment we are having a few customers still coming in.
“The problem is that if one person has a bad experience they tell everyone they know and people start avoiding the area.
“But we are trying let people know that we are still open and we hope it will continue to run smoothly.”
Resident Veronica Chard said she was concerned that people living outside of Crewkerne would think the town was closed.
She said: “If you aren’t from Crewkerne or familiar with the area then seeing all these yellow road closure signs could be quite off-putting.
“It makes it look like the town is closed so I think it’s a concern for businesses.”
Paul Bradly, of Misterton, is concerned about a the works could have a knock on effect for surrounding villages.
He said: “It seems to be just the heavy goods vehicles that are being diverted through Misterton, which will cause a headache but it’s not as bad we first thought.
“With the snow at the moment things aren’t as they usually are so we are watching the situation and still with concern – Misterton does not have the room for manoeuvre to cater for more traffic.”
A statement from Wales and West Utilities said that the work was a vitally important scheme to replace old metal pipes with plastic that could last more than 80 years.
It is aiming to complete the project as quickly as possible.