Officials say it will keep Northbound West Shore Boulevard between West Kennedy and West Gandy Boulevards closed for three weeks.By Casey Albritton

TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – Construction workers in Tampa started a new water main replacement project on Monday. Officials say it will keep Northbound West Shore Boulevard between West Kennedy and West Gandy Boulevards closed for three weeks.

Employees along West Shore Boulevard say they area already seeing the impacts from the construction, saying fewer people are coming to the stores, and those who are coming are having issues navigating the area.

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“It went from a two minute drive…to ten minutes, maybe a little more,” said Kat Johnson with Westshore Liquors.

Johnson says seeing construction on the way to work this morning was frustrating.

“Yes, I had to go out of my way, and it was annoying. Of course I wasn’t the only one who had to take that detour, so it was a lot more traffic,” said Johnson.

Tampa Officials say the Northbound lane along West Shore Boulevard between West Kennedy and West Gandy Boulevards will be closed for the next few weeks for a water main replacement project.

“I’ll definitely impact the business,” said Johnson.

Westshore Liquors is right along the construction area and Johnson says she’s already seen fewer customers

“They had a hard time too, they said that they may avoid West Shore altogether if possible. So that means they won’t be coming here,” said Johnson.

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The construction, which began on Monday, will run through June 24 and city officials say they need to close off the road to protect crews and speed up the project.

“It’s still a little scary, I’ll probably start walking to work,” said Johnson.

“We probably will notice some as it gets later and traffic gets worse and school letting out,” said Christina Millikin who works at a dog daycare called ‘And A Leash.’

Millikin says West Shore has had a lot of construction in the past.

“West Shore has been a hot mess for a while, we’ve had people come in 20 or 30 minutes late, living only five minutes away because of construction,” said Millikin.

She says it was also a hassle getting to work on Monday, but both Millikin and Johnson hope customers continue to visit.

“If they go through the inconvenience with the traffic to get here, we are going to go above and beyond to make sure they get what they need,” said Johnson.

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The main message from business owners is to plan your route ahead of time so you avoid any issues during your drive.