Major roadworks could lead to massive disruption in Horncastle in the New Year - 12 months after a similar scheme caused havoc.
The National Grid plan to dig up sections of North Street, High Street and St Lawrence Street in February to replace outdated gas mains.
The work is expected to last until the end of March.
The National Grid plan to hold a public meeting next month to reveal more details about the project.
However, residents and business owners are already fearing the worse, with warnings of a slump in trade.
One business owner said: “It’s about a year since they dug the Bull Ring up and we lost loads of business then.
“They might have well have shut Horncastle while the work went on.
“Now, we’re having to go through it all again - at a time when we’re all struggling.
“We’ve also had the increase in car park prices.
“When will it all end?”
Earlier this year, motorists also had to endure delays after long running roadworks at the junction of Langton Hill and West Street.
Although details of the latest scheme are still emerging, Stanhope Road could be utilised as a main diversion route.
That has sparked protests from campaigners fighting to reduce speed limits.
Campaign group spokesman Jonathan Lincoln described the proposal as ‘crazy’ and an ‘accident waiting to happen.’
He said: “We already have concerns about the number and speed of vehicles using Stanhope Road.
“People treat it as a rat run.
“Now, it looks like it is going to get worse. I can appreciate the work is necessary but there’s going to be even more to disruption to people’s lives.
“It’s additional traffic - including lorries and buses - 24 hours a day. It is unacceptable and grossly unfair to residents who already put up with more than enough.”
A spokesman for the National Grid said the work involved installing plastic pipes which would last for up to 80 years.
He added: “Keeping our workforce, motorists and other road users safe while we carry out the work is our top priority but we always try to minimise disruption where possible.
“We appreciate that North Street is a main route through the town so we are in discussions with Lincolnshire Highways, the police, bus companies and other organisations to identify the best way of carrying out this work.
“The plans are still in their early stages but we will be holding a public information event in January, where people can find out more about the project.”
Horncastle County Councillor Bill Aron revealed the work would take place in stages to reduce disruption.
He added: “The renewal of the main gas pipe is absolutely necessary for health and safety reasons.
“There has already been a joint meeting and the work is planned to cause as little disruption as possible.
“Signage to keep attracting people into Horncastle is being made and workmen will be on hand to assist the traffic flow and direct people to car parks.”