Williams is gradually getting back to “business as usual” after the double blow of the COVID-19 crisis and prolonged bridge works. Small businesses have been crippled by the construction disruption of the Williams bridge works for more than a year and a half, and were then hit by the global impact of the coronavirus. The work to replace the two bridges, which started in November 2018, has only just come to an end. Earlier this year, Main Roads said the works were running on schedule for “practical completion” by March 9. But Main Roads spokesman Dean Roberts confirmed that date was later pushed back to March 26. “The contract is complete, however there are a few small areas of surfacing that need rectification which will be done at the cost to the contractor,” Mr Roberts said last week. Business owner Dave Phelps made the difficult decision to temporarily close the Bridge Roadhouse in September last year, almost a year after the roadworks started. He claims the work has cost him about $1 million. “It took me two years to rebuild this business from when I bought it, now I’m starting from scratch again,” he said. “Stopping things is easy, starting again is really hard ... I’m just looking forward to getting my business going again.” Mr Phelps, who also owns the BP Roadhouse 450m away, said the BP had lost 80 per cent of business because of COVID-19. “On top of the virus affecting my main business, which is the BP, trying to restart a business with all this going on ... it’s not going to be fun, it’s going to be a hard grind,” he said. He plans to reopen the Bridge Roadhouse as soon as possible. Also starting to recoup from the bridge works and COVID-19 is Rustik Rainbow Cafe owner Poppy Wright. Ms Wright said she closed her cafe on March 28 for seven weeks. “We are back up and running now. We’re are just taking it day-by-day and waiting for the State Government’s phase three restrictions to be lifted and things to get back to normal,” she said. The official opening of the Williams bridges was postponed because of COVID-19 restrictions.