Santa Clara Valley Water District officials and South Bay leaders met Wednesday to discuss work being done on the lower Silver Creek flood protection project.
While some said construction is an inconvenience, many merchants said flooding would be worse without the project.
Crews have been working to widen creek channels and put up 25-foot high flood walls as part of the $176 million project in East San Jose, near Lake Cunningham. Construction began in 2003, officials said.
The project will also help prevent flooding during an El Nino expected to storm the region this winter.
"In light of the drought we can still flood here during El Nino this winter," said Ed Morales of the Santa Clara Valley Water District. "So we are working on a project that starts in San Jose and ends at Lake Cunningham."
District leaders said by the time the project is completed next year, 3,800 homeowners currently living in the FEMA designated flood plain would no longer be forced to pay for flood insurance.
Business owners hope the walls will be up in time to offer protection during a possible El Nino storm this winter.
"Our small business owners have a tight line, a small margin so any flooding could really hurt them and the services they provide to the community," said Monica Amador with the Story Road Business Association.