MONTHS of delays to work which will transform the Moonrakers junction are frustrating business owners, neighbours and commuters.

The £2.8 million project started in July but hiccups like the discovery of underground pipes pushed back the completion date.

This caused customers for takeaways like Mr Cod and Sammy's Kebab and Burger House to avoid the area as congestion now often tails back to where the road merges with the A4311.

Chippy owner Mohammad Saleem said: "It used to be great, with 60 customers a day, but it's gone downhill. we get no customers during the day any more and maybe 10 in the evenings.

"The road works have taken too long, we still don't know when they're going to finish, it's terrible. Without the government loan, we could not have reopened at all."

Kebab shop employee Tai Ozdem said: "It's hit us badly for six months, it's been a struggle and a headache.

"We're getting by thanks to our regulars who live nearby but sales halved because people don't want to be stuck in traffic for half an hour to pick up some food, which is understandable.

"The works keep getting delayed, it seems like there's no rush because it doesn't affect them and they don't care. We were told it would be done by the end of May, but that seems unlikely, though at least we can see some progress on it now."

A staff member from the Whitworth Road Premier newsagents who did not wish to give his name said: "It's been very quiet, our trade has dropped 75 per cent.

"A lot of our regular customers used to park quickly and buy something but they can't do that any more

"We ordered a lot of goods before the delay and they're now out of date. The florist next door closed, the sandwich shop closed, it's affected everyone"

Homeowners have had to put up with construction vehicles, drilling and digging day in and day out. Andrea Scarrott lives near the corner of Whitworth Road, which is currently inaccessible from the junction.

She said: "It's like living next to a building site, so noisy. I can't sit out in my garden. We were initially told this road would be closed for a few weeks but it's been months.

"The house shook when they dug the road up and re-tarmacked it, but the workers warned us in advance, they've been very good.

"I still see people who don't realise the road is closed and have to turn around. It takes me longer to get to work but you learn to live with it.

"I understand it has to be done, I understand the problems they've had and I hope it improves the traffic flow, the noise and the pollution levels. We'll have to wait and see."

A 46-year-old woman who travels through the area daily from Wroughton to commute to Swindon by bus said: “It makes the journey to work longer, but it’s actually the journey back home that's worst.

“I get the bus from Lawn to Old Town. The delays mean you don’t know when they’re coming, and sometimes they just do not turn up.

The woman said she is sympathetic to Stagecoach which runs her bus service and does not blame the company: “It means the bus is really unreliable if you need to get home for any reason like an appointment. I’ve had to get a taxi about four or five times and it’s money that I can’t really afford.

The woman said she was concerned by the prospect of further delays: “At first, they were saying that it would be completed in ‘the spring but I was told it may go back to ‘the summer. The timescales are so vague, it leaves no room for any hope of relief from the situation. It would be better even if we had a solid date we could look forward to.”

Workers for Swindon Borough Council have been replacing the islands with a light-controlled junction and putting in a bus lane and cycle lane from Chestnut Avenue to the junction as well as a dedicated left turn from Cricklade Road to Beechcroft Road when approaching from the north.

A Swindon Borough Council spokesman said: “Motorists will have seen the good recent progress that has been made on the Moonrakers junction and the new road layout will be largely completed over the next few weeks.

“Traffic is now running along the new northbound section in front of the shops and alongside the Moonrakers pub and, over the coming weeks, the southbound side of Cricklade Road will be resurfaced and a new left turn created into Beechcroft Road.

“The finishing touches will be made to the scheme at the end of next month.

“Residents and drivers have been unbelievably patient while these works have been carried out as it is never easy to minimise disruption on a complex project like this while keeping the road open.

“We’d therefore like to say a big thank you to them for bearing with us as we finish the last leg of the scheme.

“Further updates on the final stages will be available from the dedicated Moonrakers e-newsletter and residents can sign up at:”