Road openings a glimmer of hope for US 19 businesses - FOX 13 News

Road openings a glimmer of hope for US 19 businesses

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CLEARWATER (FOX 13) -

As a yoga instructor, Heidi Templeton is pretty good at finding inner peace. With all the construction outside of Heat Yoga and Fitness on U.S. 19 in Clearwater, she's needed it.

"There's a couple times I caught myself – take a deep yoga breath – it's going to be OK," she said.

Construction cones have become a fixture here for years as crews update 19 to the tune of more than $100 million.

"When it starts getting dark out, you have people coming at 60 miles per hour, and then you have to get on 19 and get to full speed. You feel like you're going to get run over," Templeton said.

But now she and her students can breathe a little easier. A frontage road opened today on the west side of U.S. 19 between Countryside Boulevard and Sunset Road.

It should make getting to and from businesses easier.

"Merging back on to 19 is a lot safer now because you have the single lane," said student Carole Lark.

"We've definitely noticed a decrease in business volume because people didn't want to deal with construction to get here," said Drew Sehen.

Sehen slings drinks at the Zo lounge. He hopes this new alternative brings more customers pouring in.

"I hope it gives all the drive traffic better access to the local businesses, including ourselves," he said.

It's a small sign of progress between all that orange.

"I hope this is the turning point where we start to see more development," Templeton said.

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