Burton businesses are changing their opening hours to "make life easier" for customers who are being affected by the three-month closure of St Peter's Bridge.

The Alphabet Gift Shop, in Union Street, is the latest firm to open its doors early in a bid to cater for commuters who are getting caught up in traffic chaos.

Lowercase Café, which is based inside the gift shop, is mounting a 'Beat the Bridge' initiative in a bid to ease the pain of people suffering through the closure of the bridge while worn-out bearings are replaced and the road waterproofed and resurfaced.

Sue Dorling, owner of The Alphabet Gift Shop, has launched the Beat the Bridge scheme to help Burton residents braving the commute

The café, which usually opens at 9am, will be opening up at 7.30am because it is finding commuters are driving to work earlier than normal to beat the traffic across the busy Burton Bridge.

Owner Sue Dorling said: "We are as disappointed as everyone else that the essential works means that the bridge is closed for so long, particularly in the run-up to Christmas, but we are determined to do our best to make the most of a difficult situation.

"With staff members who travel from Swadlincote, Stapenhill and Church Gresley, we know first-hand the difficulties the bridge closure is creating.

"Forever resourceful, our staff are dusting down their bikes, sharing cars and we are altering rotas to be as flexible as possible with their working hours. And of course, for those in extra early, there is a yummy breakfast available before they start work."

The Alphabet Gift Shop in Union Street will be opening earlier to cater for customers caught up in gridlock

The 'Beat the Bridge' breakfast menu, which is available to eat in or take away, offers a selection of bacon or sausage bridge rolls, fruit, cereal and toasted bread and buns as well as an array of freshly baked pastries. Coffee and tea is also served with unlimited top-ups until 9am.

Free wifi, laptop, tablet and phone charging and morning newspapers are all part of the coffee shop’s Beat the Bridge initiative.

General manager Sarah Kuster said: "We are doing okay during lunchtimes but we are finding that the mornings and evenings are a little quieter. With all the schools going back this week I am not sure how bad it is going to get."

Work has begun on St Peter's Bridge
Across town Harlow Bros Timber Merchants, which is based in Hawkins Lane, has also made the decision to open at 6.30am until St Peter's Bridge reopens at the end of November.

Manager Simon Mcilvenna said the team had already noticed "considerable disruption" for customers and staff following the closure of the bridge, which began on Tuesday, August 29.

He said: "Our delivery drivers were voicing concern and it is already causing a problem. If we can help customers and delivery drivers in any way to avoid the traffic then we will do our bit, and as most people in the construction industry start early we thought this might help them.

"The response so far has been fairly positive and we hope it is something customers will continue to take advantage of."

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