TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) — Construction workers in Tampa began a new water pipe replacement project Monday. Officials say it will keep the Northbound West Shore Boulevard between West Kennedy and West Gandy Boulevards closed for three weeks.
Workers along West Shore Boulevard say they are already seeing the effects of the construction, say fewer people are coming to the stores and those who do are having trouble navigating the area.
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“It went from a two-minute drive… to ten minutes, maybe a little more,” said Westshore Liquors’ Kat Johnson.
Johnson says it was frustrating to see construction work on his way to work this morning.
“Yes, I had to do my best and that was annoying. Of course I wasn’t the only one who had to take that detour, so there was a lot more traffic,” said Johnson.
Tampa officials say the north lane along West Shore Boulevard between West Kennedy and West Gandy Boulevards will be closed in the coming weeks for a water main replacement project.
“I will definitely have an impact on the company,” Johnson said.
Westshore Liquors is near the construction area and Johnson says she’s already seen fewer customers
“They also had a hard time, they said they could avoid West Shore altogether if possible. So that means they’re not coming here,” Johnson said.
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Construction, which began Monday, will last until June 24 and city officials say they must close the road to protect crews and speed up the project.
“It’s still a little scary, I’ll probably walk to work,” Johnson said.
“We’ll probably notice as it gets later and the traffic gets worse and the school gets out,” says Christina Millikin, who works at a doggie daycare called ‘And A Leash.’
Millikin says West Shore has built a lot in the past.
“West Shore has been in chaos for a while, people were coming in 20 or 30 minutes late and only living five minutes away due to construction work,” Millikin said.
She says it was also a hassle to get to work on Monday, but both Millikin and Johnson hope customers will keep coming.
“If they go through the traffic inconvenience of getting here, we’re going to do everything we can to make sure they get what they need,” Johnson said.
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The most important message from business owners is to plan your route in advance so that you avoid problems during your ride.