Traders fear they could go bust because bridge repair works are making Rickmansworth a “no-go area”.

Transport for London has been repairing the bridge in Station Road for the last month.

But this week it emerged they will need to work for two weeks longer than initially planned, putting the final completion date at Monday, November 30.

People are "staying away" from the town because traffic is gridlocked.

Barry Mason, who only took over Masons of Rickmansworth in September, fears his business could go under because November is the key month for shoppers ordering their Christmas meat.

He said: “No-one has been coming to the High Street. Trade is going down and down and down. It is very worrying.

“If I can’t keep afloat, maybe it will put me under. I am just about managing to keep my head afloat, but if people stop coming into the High Street, it could do me.

“The traffic is chaos in the morning and the evening. Everyone is worried about getting out of Rickmansworth so they are not bothering coming into Rickmansworth. It is like a no-go area.”

Anil Patel of Ricky’s Cards said: “This is the prime time for shopping for Christmas cards. But it is very quiet at the moment. There has not been any customers.

“They are going to clean out most of the businesses.

“I think they should give us some form of compensation.”

The repair work will enable the 127-year-old bridge deck to be replaced during a four-day closure in Easter. Station Road will be closed between Friday, March 25 and Monday, March 28.

Councillor Paula Hiscocks, representative for Rickmansworth Town, said: “I can’t put into words how angry I am.

“Shopping for Christmas presents starts earlier and earlier every year and by the start of December, the work may be finished. But by then most people have got their presents and cards.

“Christmas is the main shopping time for a small town. Businesses are saying they are really going to be seriously affected by this. We need to save our high street.

“I am seriously worried.”

Work was initially expected to finish on Tuesday, November 18 and Cllr Roger Seabourne, who represents Penn and Mill End, said the delays are a “real kick in the teeth” to businesses and residents.

He added: "Signage around the works has been poor, with drivers trying to find short cuts around the jams, leading to narrow residential streets becoming blocked.”

TFL, in a statement, said “We apologise for the road closure along Station Road and the associated disruption in and around Rickmansworth, which is due to vital renewal work to the railway bridge.

"Due to the complex nature of the work, the road closure will now be extended to 30th November.

“We thank the local people for their ongoing patience while we carry out this essential work. Our engineers are making use of all available working hours to complete this phase of the project as soon as possible, while we continue to run Metropolitan line services through the area as normal.”

The spokesman added that the road closure was extended to prevent further disruption by shutting the road again before the planning works.