State Road 64 construction delayed as businesses are impacted

jdeleon@bradenton.comSeptember 8, 2013 

MANATEE -- Wet weather has delayed the completion of construction along State Road 64 in east Bradenton.

The Florida Department of Transportation project begins west of Carlton Arms Boulevard and extends to the west of Interstate 75. It includes the widening of the road from four lanes to six as well as resurfacing it.

Construction was scheduled to be completed by the end of August. However, an addition of 16 holidays and 55 weather days to the construction contract has pushed back the estimated completion to late October or early November, according to FDOT spokeswoman Trudy Gerena.

With construction delayed, businesses along the stretch that have been concerned by the effect on revenues will continue to endure the hardship.

"We think it has been affecting us," said Rachel Jackson, owner of Nesting Tree, 5222 State Road 64 E. "We weren't sure at first because we have only been open for three years."

Jackson said since the opening of her children's and babies' second chance boutique, sales had consistently increased each month until about nine months ago. With the construction making it more difficult for would-be customers to get to the shopping plaza, Jackson said sales have remained stagnant and some months even decreased.

The construction project also includes adding five-foot paved bike lanes, building curbs and gutters with drainage swales, constructing sidewalks, planting landscaping, and replacing existing traffic signals

with mast arms and concrete poles.

For many business owners, the gripes aren't coming from them.

"People complain, but I still think people are going to go where they want to go," said Linda Sykes, owner of China Arcade, another tenant in the Bennett Plaza.

"I have heard customers complain about it, though."

Sykes says her adult arcade doesn't depend heavily on walk-ins.

"We get a few walk-ins if they happen to be in the plaza," Sykes said.

Sykes does hope, though, that the completion of the project will drive more customers.

Michael Fedd, owner of Teez by Design, does rely heavily on walk-in traffic and is anxious for the work to be done because of the enormous impact he says it's had on business.

"No one is coming in," Fedd said. "We're definitely hurting."

Some business owners, however, say the work has had little effect on their business.

"I haven't been affected by it but I have heard the tenants complainingabout it," said Realtor and Bennett Plaza owner Rick Bennett.

"I'm glad they are widening the road."

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