HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – Business owners along parts of A1A in Hollywood insist that a construction project is driving people away from the area.
The project is only a half-mile long, but the traffic and congestion is causing some to bypass Hollywood Beach.
"Business has gone down, for sure. People are complaining that it's taking so long to get here," Marie Jaffre, who works at Hot & Chili on the Broadwalk, said.
Tina Rosario, who is a waitress at Florio's of Italy, agreed.
Many employees said it's taking them double the time to get to and from work because of the $9.3 million project that is underway on A1A in Hollywood.
Ultimately, the road will be resurfaced, sidewalks will be widened and there will be a bike lane.
Construction is going on from Sheridan Street south to Monroe Street.
Two lanes of traffic in each direction are now down to one during construction.
Consultant Kathy DiBona, who lives on Hollywood Beach, said getting to clients has become a long haul.
"It's about 45 minutes to get from my home over to Sheridan Street bridge. It used to take six minutes," she said.
DiBona said on the weekends, that same route could take 90 minutes.
The Florida Department of Transportation has optimized traffic signal timing from Arizona Street to Sheridan Street in order to allow better traffic flow.
There is also an additional northbound lane open from Harding Street to Sheridan Street.
Prior to the signals being synced, FDOT requested Hollywood police to direct traffic along the corridor during peak hours over the weekends to help with the traffic flow.
The project won't be completed until spring 2019.
DiBona, who is also vice president of the Hollywood Beach Business Association, has a message for the public.
"Please understand that Hollywood Beach does love you and we want you to be here," she said. "We're going to get through this and eventually back to something that you will be able to say, 'I don't want to avoid that beach.'"