MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - A nearly two-and-a-half year long construction project on Alton Road in Miami Beach began Monday.
According to the Florida Department of Transportation, a long-term goal of the work is to alleviate persistent flooding that has been made worse by an aging drainage system.
Crews will install three new pumping stations at 5th, 10th, and 14th Streets and a new drainage system to improve storm water drainage in the area.
But the short-term consequences of construction has local business owners worried.
Bobby Thakore, whose family owns the Taste Bakery and Cafe on Alton Road and 9th Street, said Thursday he fears walk-in customers will be discouraged by construction and his delivery drivers will be stuck in traffic.
"Hopefully we won't be closing down. We'll try to work around it somehow," he said.
Mimi Tran, who owns two nail salons on Alton Road, said she expects to lose money.
"I think it's going to get a lot worse, and I'm expecting a 50 percent drop in sales," she said.
The work will span from Fifth Street to Michigan Avenue. Some parking will be eliminated and some intersections might close periodically.
For a stretch of several months, a FDOT spokesperson told Local 10 all southbound lanes on Alton Road will be closed and traffic would be re-routed to West Avenue.
Some people who live and work along West Avenue said they fear a backlog of traffic and worry about the safety of pedestrians there.
"It's going to be a big headache," said Marc Monestine, who works at the Mondrian condo-hotel at 1100 West Avenue.
Like most business owners, Tran and Thakore said they will work to keep their stores accessible to the community despite roadblocks and debris.
"Looking toward the long term, I'm invested in this community. Definitely. And I want to see it get better," Tran said.
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