Atlantic County officials are optimistic about finally wrapping up the Tilton Road reconstruction project — and local businesspeople hope it happens soon.

After more than 10 years of work up and down the 10-mile stretch of road, the road improvements and paving in Northfield and Egg Harbor Township are nearing completion, county Executive Dennis Levinson said.

The project is almost done, with “a few punch-list items remaining,” Levinson said in a statement Wednesday.

Such items include resetting several manhole covers and an inlet grate, and addressing several areas of ponding, Levinson said.

“We are all anxious for construction to be completed and to everyone’s satisfaction. I have received several calls from individuals concerned that these issues might not be addressed. But that is not the case. We are aware of the need to correct these problems, and they will be corrected,” he said.

Levinson praised the efforts and cooperation of the contractor, Hammonton-based Arawak Paving Co., in competing the project.

Arawak was hired in August to smooth over the roadway, work its contract states must be completed by Dec. 14. The project has a cost of $1.7 million, including inspections.

With paving nearing completion, “The road is significantly better,” Ryan Klaiss said behind the counter Wednesday at Jester’s Playhouse. “But I think (the work) cut down on business in the area. A lot of people just don’t want to drive on the road while they’re doing construction. There’s been a marked dropoff this holiday season compared to last. So not having construction crews on the road every day will definitely help.”

Chloe Myrick, a retailer at Simply Fly, agreed the road was “a lot smoother” but added that “there was a time in the process of it, when it really wasn’t finished, when it was horrible, worse than before they started. Cars kept hitting (manholes), and it was like a roller coaster. ... And cones are set up right by (the strip mall’s) entrance, and maybe it was harder for customers to get in. But it is a lot smoother now, and I’m glad they did it.”

Said Jerry Eget, manager of The Cigar Boxx, the previously bad roads and seemingly endless utility work “just killed business. It went on for way too long. ... We need to do advertising to let people know it’s paved. A lot of people lost their front ends out there.”

Contact Anjalee Khemlani:

609-272-7247

@AnjKhem on Twitter

Contact Steven Lemongello:

609-272-7275

@SteveLemongello on Twitter