A VILLAGE with only one way in and out is learning to live with a week of disruption that has affected shopkeepers and residents.
Until yesterday lunchtime the main road through Arksey, Doncaster, was blocked in both directions with only a winding country lane providing circuitous access.
Vital work on the level crossing over the main East Coast line on Arksey Lane has coincided with flooding on Fordstead Lane at Thorpe Marsh.
That road was reopened yesterday afternoon after the flooding subsided – but the double whammy has meant hour-long diversions through Doncaster town centre for some villagers.
The cost of taxi rides to and from the village has also doubled because of the much longer route, some residents claim.
On Monday and yesterday the only way to get to Arksey was through Toll Bar and Shaftholme, after Network Rail blocked off the level crossing to vehicles.
Mark Hopson, who owns the Costcutter shop in Arksey, has had to drive his own vehicle to Bentley to collect supplies because delivery trucks can’t get over the tight bridge at Shaftholme.
And his normal school run to Bentley with his three children is taking 40 minutes instead of five.
“It means them getting up a lot earlier than usual,” he said, “but at least it’s only for this week, if the work is done on time.”
And every cloud has a silver lining, he said.
“With us being the biggest shop in the village we’re getting more trade this week because people can’t get to the supermarkets.
“We’ve also been to collect newspapers for the village because deliveries weren’t getting through, and I have been out delivering groceries to older people who can’t get out.”
Denise Morse, owner of the Da Vinci boutique on Station Road, said: “It’s almost pointless me being open because I’ve got no passing trade at all.
“Since I opened last year I’ve been quite busy but there’s been only one person in this week, and she rang me first to see if I was open.
“Nobody else is going to come.
“When I heard the crossing was to be closed for a week I wrote to Network Rail but they phoned back to say there was nothing they could do. I asked for some leeway but they said it was fixed.”
A disabled resident of Arksey, who declined to be named, said: “It is taking a lot longer for people to get to and from Arksey and the taxi fare that is usually £5 to get to town has gone up to £10 because of the extra distance.
“They are letting people walk across the level crossing but it’s not nice doing that at night.”
A spokesman for Network Rail said the diversion route for road traffic and pedestrians had been moved via Daw Lane.
“We are suspending work to allow buses - one in each direction per hour - to cross at the crossing,” he said.