Homosassa bridge construction impacting businesses

By Kim Leoffler, Reporter
Last Updated: Sunday, February 11, 2018, 7:00 PM EST

The Halls River Bridge in Homosassa has been under construction for over a year.

  • Halls River Bridge under construction
  • Bridge down to one lane, causing traffic delays
  • FDOT says construction should be done by 2019

It’s the only way to access some businesses in that area and some business owners say the traffic around the bridge has hurt their profits.

Drivers say they're getting tired of all the traffic in the area because of the bridge construction.

"It can't be any more frustrating," Randall Edwards said. "We're just waiting for the day the bridge is done."

Every day drivers coming home, going to work or heading to businesses in the area have to stop for several minutes when they get to the Halls River Bridge. The bridge is down to one lane while it’s under construction.

Mark Smith who owns the Homosassa Springs Marina said the construction has driven away many of his customers.

He said during the 2017 scallop season, his profits were down by 52 percent.

"We've had a lot of repeat customers who typically come here each year that called us," Smith said. "It was nice of them they said ‘Hey it's nothing that you did it's just we don't want to contend with that bridge. So this year, again it's nothing that you did, wrong but we're going to go across the river and rent our boats there.’"

A second lane was supposed to open soon to make it easier to get across but it’s been delayed.

FDOT said the entire construction won’t be done until early 2019.

Residents say it's usually much quicker to get across on the weekends. But on weekdays, there will often be flaggers directing traffic, which can increase the wait times.

As for Smith's business, he said they are trying to adjust, waiting for the day the bridge completely reopens.

"Is it frustrating yes. But there are a lot of frustrating things and we just learn to live with them," Smith said.

Once completed, FDOT said the new bridge will be about double as wide as the old bridge, which had been built in the 50s.