BRIDGEPORT - Business owners in the area of the Route 8 construction say they are bracing for heavy losses while customers are detoured away from their establishments.

Mike Habbab, the owner of the Exxon Tiger Mart at the intersection of Capital and Lindley avenues, says he expects business to drop off by at least half during the project's duration. Sue and Lou Yanez, who own Mystical Illusions Tattoos, say they also expect a 50 percent drop-off in profits.

At the neighboring florist, Fruits and Flowers, owner Lisa Alfonso is encouraging customers to call ahead so they can receive curbside service so they don't have trouble finding parking.

The Yanezes say that while they appreciate the state's move to improve safety, most of the stores on the block are family operated businesses that face a significant financial setback. 

State officials say that in the long run, the improvements will drive more traffic to the area’s small businesses and help the local economy grow.

As News 12 has reported, the DOT says crews will spend two weeks replacing two highway bridges that pass over Lindley and Capitol avenues.

For two weeks, during construction, the highway will be reduced to two lanes.