DRIVERS using a side road as a shortcut are putting people's lives at risk, residents have warned.
Hartfield Road, in Forest Row, is temporarily closed in one direction while building work is carried out.
Some motorists have been using Lower Road to access the other side of the village from the A22 and avoid a seven-mile diversion across Ashdown Forest.
Businesses, residents and other road users have bemoaned the actionsI of drivers using the cut through, saying it is a safety issue.
Wheelchair-user Jo Keel, who lives in the road, said: "On Monday we counted 69 cars going past in half an hour. There's a big sign at the end of the road which states it is access-only, so all these vehicles are technically breaking the law.
"I went out from my house on Monday and past six cars. I had to give way to all of them. I had two near misses with cars there in normal traffic, so it's only going to get worse.
"There's young children, disabled people, elderly people and others using this road, and it's just not safe to go out on the road at the moment."
Chris Rycroft, owner of Village Crafts, in The Square, said drivers are ignoring the access only signs which have been at either end of Lower Road for more than 50 years.
"Cars are going down Lower Road like there's no tomorrow," he said. "It's designated as a no-through road, yet they are going down here at 30 or 40mph. It's a very narrow road and to have two-way traffic down there is just ludicrous. It's a real safety issue, and safety is paramount here."
The road is open to drivers travelling from the village towards the A22, but it is closed to motorists coming from the other direction between The Co-op store and the A22 junction.
Hartfield Road was open in both directions at the weekend, and East Sussex County Council Highways hopes the work will be completed by tomorrow (Friday).
Forest Row Parish Council clerk Rodabe Rudin said: "The parish council was as surprised as many residents to discover that Hartfield Road would be the subject of a one-way traffic order.
"We were not consulted and only had one week's notice when we saw the signs.
"We have had many representations from many people and succeeded, by liaising with Highways and the client, in getting the scaffolding removed last weekend and to ensure the works will be completed and scaffolding removed on November 30.
"This is to make sure the key Christmas events in the village – the village market, the primary school Christmas market and the Michael Hall advent fair – will be unhindered.
"We are aware that local people who know will use local roads to access the areas they want to. This is far from ideal, but our attempts to ask for a temporary one-way system proved that this was not possible due to legal constraints of the traffic orders and there is nothing further that the parish council can do."