Businesses along Ulmerton Rd say Largo road-widening project is hurting them

Project slated for completion in early 2014

LARGO, Fla. - Santo Sardo likes to maintain a sense of humor while he works

"I bust everybody's chops. That's what I am, the chop-buster," laughed Sardo.

But Sardo finds nothing funny about the construction on Ulmerton Road in front of his pizza shop.

"This is how I sum it up -- pain," said Sardo, the smile gone from his face.

The section of Ulmerton Road between 119th St. and the Seminole Bypass Canal has been under construction for nearly nine months for a Florida Department of Transportation lane-widening project.

Some businesses, like Sardo's, are feeling the pinch.

"I'm losing about $250 a day.  People that come here two, three times a week, now I only see them once every two weeks," said Sardo.

Even drivers seem sympathetic.

"I think it's putting a hurt on a lot of business.  And I think it should have been done in smaller sections," said Brad Hicks of Largo as he sat at a red light.

And although his tire business has suffered from the construction, Russ Welch knows things will get better.

"I'm definitely looking forward to having the construction done. I think it's going to be a beneficial thing.  It's a necessary evil," said Welch.

"I am not making the money I made before.  But I'm grateful that I'm still able to pay the bills.  I just pray to God that it doesn't get any worse," Sardo explained.
    
The widening project on Ulmerton Road still has quite a ways to go.  The DOT doesn't expect it to be complete until early 2014.

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