Construction of Publix in South End is creating traffic headaches

South End businesses and residents are going to have to wait a few more weeks for South Boulevard roadwork to be completed and for the new Publix to open for business.

The much-anticipated Publix on South Boulevard and Iverson Way will open in “late March or early April,” according to Scott MacLaren, president of the North Carolina division of Stiles, which manages the Shops of Southline property.

According to the Charlotte Department of Transportation, the South Boulevard roadwork is estimated to be completed on Feb. 9.

The road construction has slowed daily commutes in both directions and has been a headache for area businesses. For example, Barry Owensby, manager of South End Auto Inspection, said his company usually handles 30 to 40 inspections a day, but as of Tuesday mid-afternoon, the day’s count was 15.

Danny Pleasant, director of the Charlotte Department of Transportation, said a turn lane and pedestrian crosswalk are being added in conjunction with the residential and commercial construction nearby.

“It’s a bit disruptive right now. It involves moving the curb out a bit on South Boulevard, which requires a lane closure,” Pleasant said. “Conditions right now are such that the street has been milled. In other words, the top layer of pavement has been cut off in order to go back and resurface.”

The new 55,000-square-foot Publix, which is situated just over a mile from a Dilworth Harris Teeter, is across the street from Lowe’s Home Improvement and adjacent to a yet-to-be-opened new 266-unit Camden Southline apartment complex.

“It will be great for the residents. You can walk downstairs, grab your food, then walk 10 yards back (home),” MacLaren said.

According to the website of Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix, the chain operates nine stores in North Carolina, and six more, including the Southline location, will open in 2015 or 2016. The company could not be reached for comment.