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Publix opens on North Market

At long last, the new Publix on North Market Street is set to open today, with a ribbon cutting ceremony featuring state Sen. Todd Gardenhire scheduled for 6:45 a.m.

“We’re very excited about opening a new store in that area,” Publix spokeswoman Brenda Reid said. “Publix would like to be a part of the growth and development of that community.”

Publix believes it is important to form partnerships with community organizations, such as United Way’s Stuff the Bus campaign, said Reid. The other local stores also donate day-old bread to area organizations such as the Chattanooga Area Food Bank and Olivet Baptist Church, she added.

Most people living in the neighborhood seem thrilled at the idea of having a grocery store in the area, though the expected increase in traffic is still a concern.

A full-impact traffic study was conducted in the area before the construction of the new Publix, said Ben Taylor, assistant transportation engineer for the city of Chattanooga.

The study determined that a traffic signal was necessary at the intersection of Manning and Market streets, which Publix paid to install. North Market was also widened to provide a left-turn lane into the new store.

The traffic signal features a push button for pedestrians, and the streetscape design is similar to downtown, he said.

“With the addition of the signal and turn lanes, the intersection should function as it does now,” said Taylor, though he does expect a lot of traffic around the store’s opening.

The city will continue to watch the intersection to see if any improvements are necessary, such as altering the timing of the traffic signal, he said.