A bridge that was struck by a lorry back in January has affected a group of businesses saying they are facing financial ruin after a vital road link was closed and was meant to re-open in February.
A salvage yard, three car part firms and a café claim they have dramatically lost their trade in Landor Street, in Bordesley Green after a lorry smashed into the bridge.
The closure was pushed back to May and they have now been told it could even be August or longer.
The traders believe customers are not prepared to make the four mile detour to access the other end of Landor Street, which are made worse by additional closures in the area.
Birmingham Council say they have repeatedly asked Network Rail when the road would be reopened but have “yet to receive a response.”
Meanwhile the rail company do not have an estimate for when the damaged collision protection beam will be built and installed on the bridge.
The business owners are caught in the middle who have had to shed staff, reduce hours and carry on stumping up thousands of pounds in rent and bills.
Mumtaz Hussain, from Elite Auto Salvage Spares said: “It’s affected us all we’re all in the same boat.
“When we go home, we have bills coming through the door and we can’t afford to pay.
“I’ve laid off two people. I’m losing money left, right and centre, 98 per cent of my business has gone. I rely on footfall and my yard is empty. I’m frustrated calling National Rail we are going round in circles.”
Aziz Khan, who owns Isa Tyres and Auto Spares Limited said: “No customers are coming. We’ve lost 97 per cent of our business. We made £400 a day, now £50 because no one is coming.
“If the road stays closed, my business will close. I owe £5,500 in rent for the last three months. It is very bad.”
Mohammed Banaris, who runs Kandor Spare Parts, said he pays £3,500 a month in rent and rates.
He said: “Before, 10 customers would come a day, now two or three. Customers are going elsewhere.
“We’ve been here since 1989 and we are worried. My daughter has rang the council and asked for a reduction in rates and rents.”
Marie Mcloskey, from the Cabin Cafe, says two staff have left following a 60 per cent reduction in takings.
“I’ve had to borrow money to pay rent and de-registered for paying VAT. It’s delay, delay, constant delay.
Mohammed Siar, who manages 7 Day Parts, says sometimes they have had to close for a week.
“I phoned the council and they pass me to Network Rail. Before I had 15 to 20 customers, now maybe one a day.”
A Birmingham City Council spokeswoman said: “We can confirm that Landor Street was closed by Network Rail in January as an emergency measure due to the bridge being damaged when it was struck by a vehicle.
“The council has since written to Network Rail on several occasions to ascertain when the repairs will be completed and to ask for an estimated re-opening date for the road, but we have yet to receive a response.
“Given the understandable concerns raised by businesses in the area, we would therefore urge Network Rail to provide this information and ensure that these works are carried out and the road re-opened without further delay.”
A Network Rail spokesman said: “We understand the frustrations of businesses affected by the emergency road closure at Landor Street. It’s necessary to protect a bridge which has been hit by vehicles 128 times.
“The protection beam, in place to protect the bridge has been irreparably damaged after being hit 32 times in just 10 years. Its unique replacement will take several months to design, build and install.
“Without a protection beam in place, the risk of another bridge strike and irreparable damage to the bridge and railway is too high.
“We are in regular contact with Birmingham City Council and will keep everyone up to date as work to repair the bridge and reopen the road continues.”