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Gandy Extension project takes toll on local businesses

Posted at 11:16 PM, Oct 13, 2016

"We probably have a couple thousand wines," said Mike Kwasin.

If your choosing between a red or white, napa valley or France, Kwasin, owner of Fine Wine and Spirits Warehouse has all the answers.

But when it comes to the Selmon Extension project, Kwasin has some questions of his own.

"My concern is how long it will take them to do it, and the disruption I will have out here with customers trying to get in," said Kwasin.

Kwasin has been doing business off Gandy and Dale Mabry for 33 years. He’s already seen two major road projects just outside his window over that time, each taking a major toll on his bottom line.

"It took 30 to 40 percent of my sales right off the top," said Kwasin.

The most recent project aims to take all of the traffic off Gandy Blvd in Tampa, especially during rush hour, by moving it to an elevated toll road.

Once again construction is expected to bring added traffic to the area before finally bringing the relief it promises.

The elevated lanes will run for 1.6 miles from the foot of the Gandy Bridge, connecting to the Selmon. Essentially connecting Brandon to US 19 non stop.

"It’s terrible, it’s bumper to bumper," said one women who takes Gandy for work. "Doesn’t matter what time of the day or night it is, it’s alway a mess."

For those who travel Gandy on a daily basis, the toll road brings much needed relief.

But until its complete, business owners like Kwasin worry, those same folks may just avoid the area and his shop entirely.

"I’ve never been for or against it, I think it could be good, its gonna hurt, will I get all my business back, I hope," said Kwasin.

Construction is expected to begin in 2017.