MANTOLOKING - Department of Transportation Commissioner James Simpson met with business owners in Toms River Wednesday to address concerns over Route 35 construction work.
Residents say traffic is already slow due to construction along Route 35 in Ocean County, but officials say the major overhaul hasn't even started yet.
"We have a few more weeks, then after Labor Day we'll kick it into full gear," Simpson says.
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Simpson met with business owners in Toms River to both hear their concerns and reinforce how much the project is needed.
The owner of Dom's Deli and Grill says highway construction has already had an effect on his sales. Full-time residents and commuters will also be affected by the work.
The project will run about 12.5 miles from Point Pleasant Beach to the entrance of Island Beach State Park. The state had promised that one lane would be open in each direction the whole time, but during the past month drivers say traffic has been cut down to just one shared lane at certain times.
"There are some times when it's just going to be unavoidable," Simpson says, "but we're doing a $300 million reconstruction of a highway and the highway is in rough shape."
Simpson says the brunt of the work will be done during off-peak times.
A new drainage system under the highway is being constructed as well to help ease flooding from future storms.
The state hopes to have the entire project completed by the summer of 2015.