By Selena Hernandez, CBS 11 News

North Tarrant Express construction

BEDFORD (CBSDFW.COM) – A major road project in Tarrant County is starting to take a toll on drivers and businesses alike.

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The North Tarrant Express project spans almost 13.5 miles through Hurst, Euless and Bedford. The completion date can’t come soon enough for some business along the project route.

It’s the familiar, inconvenient sight those in the mid-cities have grown accustomed to.

“It’s sad when it takes you 45 minutes at that time at night to go anywhere, and sometimes I work at night,” driver Shawn Winter said.

The expansion project along 183 to 121 is frustrating drivers and businesses lined along the construction path.

“I know people go out of the way not to come here because of the traffic and congestion,” Julio Van Scoit said.

Van Scoit owns the Schlotzsky’s Deli on Airport Freeway at the 121 interchange in Euless. He says construction has taken a big bite out of his bottom line.

“Almost immediately – we noticed a 50% decline in business,” Van Scoit said. ‘It has not returned in over 13months and usually after the holidays, we’ll see an increase, but we haven’t seen that.”

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Van Scoit’s restaurant was void of customers when CBS 11 visited.  He says he’s had to lay off half of his staff because of a lack of business.  “People have the perception we’re closed permanelty since the construction started.”

Van Scoit and others have placed ‘We’re Open’ signs in their lots – in hopes of driving customers back through their doors.

“There’s light at the end of the tunnel,” Lara Khol with the North Tarrant Express said.  “With the end of construction, you’re going to have drivers a lot less frustrated, less traffic conjestion, and they’re going to have better accessibility to these businesses.”

And that’s exactly what Van Scoit and other area shops are banking on.

“We’re just excited to see the growth in the area, and what the expansion is going to mean for all the businesses involved,” Index Skateboard manager Jonathan Smith said. “We couldn’t be more happy for all the changes that will take place.”

“Hopefully, it’ll turn around and people will come back to our business,” Van Scoit said. “We’re still here, we’re not going anywhere. We just want more customers to come back to our business.”

But business owners will still have to wait a few more years. The project is on track for completion in the summer of 2015.

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