Traders in Oswaldtwistle have been left fuming after a main road was closed off to repair a defective sewer.
United Utilities workers shut down Union Road between Oswaldtwistle Mills and Haworth Street earlier this week and expect the work to last a week.
Road closure signs and diversions have been put in place to divert traffic around the area.
However, businesses said they knew nothing about the repairs until they arrived for work on Monday morning.
Saghir Yousaf, 38, who owns Ossy General Store, said: “We didn’t know anything about it and it will impact on our business. Times are hard and things like this don’t help. This is a main road and it’s becoming a nightmare.
“They should at least have told us what was going to happen. Cars and motorbikes were driving on the footpaths trying to get round it. It was chaos. All it needs is a little kid to run out from the garden onto the path and it could be a disaster.”
Kevin Aaron, owner of High Class Butchers, said: “Business is dead at the minute because of this. It’s definitely affecting trade. They have put road closure signs at the top of the roads but they don’t say there is access to businesses. People are assuming that they can’t get through and we are closed. They have left it until the school holidays but they said it was an emergency.”
Oswaldtwistle councillor Peter Britcliffe said the road is ‘absolute chaos’.
He said: “On Monday they were diverting traffic up a dead end. They certainly need to get their act together. Let’s hope this chaos doesn’t last too long. They need to make the signs clear when incidents like this occur.”
United Utilities have apologised for any inconvenience.
A spokesman said: “This is planned work to repair a defect in a sewer which runs under Union Road.
“It should take one week to complete. It’s a blockage which has been causing minor problems for a nearby school. We planned it to take place during half-term, when there is a little less traffic on the roads. A diversion is in place. Apologies for any inconvenience.”
Oliver Starkey, highways manager for Hyndburn, said: “We work with utility companies to minimise the impact of their work on road users by agreeing suitable traffic management and diversions and, where work is planned well ahead of time, ask the company to take the opportunity to notify local residents and businesses.”