Work has started on the Route 35 reconstruction project, and while some business owners have voiced concerns, the New Jersey Department of Transportation (DOT) is putting their fears to rest.

Route 35 in Normandy Beach (Jason Allentoff, Townsquare Media NJ)

Could the project be what's causing a dip in summer sales at the shore?

After it was first announced, the DOT made sure the plans would have little to no impact on the tourism season, which is a billion dollar industry for the Garden State. The summer of 2013 is particularly important as being the first since Superstorm Sandy hit our area over nine months ago.

While there have been some bottlenecks due to ongoing utility work and repairs along the stretch of 35, DOT Commissioner Jim Simpson has heard very few first hand complaints. Most of the big work hasn't even started yet, he explained.

"We will be bringing out the big guns in a matter of weeks, after the Labor Day holiday. It's a promise Governor Christie made to the businesses along the shore, worried about the issue. We have done some preliminary work with piping and drainage but the heavy machinery has yet to really arrive."

DOT Commissioner Jim Simpson with local officials on a tour of Normandy Beach (Jason Allentoff, Townsquare Media NJ)

On Wednesday, Simpson, along with NJDOT project team members and Toms River officials, walked through Normandy Beach listening to the concerns and ideas of business owners and residents along the way.

The group made a number of stops at local businesses including Dom's Pizza and Deli, Z-Line Beachwear and the Beach Authority.

Simpson believes the unstable weather can be to blame for a less then stellar turnout at the shore this summer. However, he's optimistic as it's not over yet since there are still several weeks left to go.

The Listening Tour supplements a robust community outreach effort that includes a hotline - 732-230-7356. If you have any questions for the DOT, you can direct them there or email them.

The $265 million project is expected to be fully completed sometime in 2015.