As if State Road 135 wasn’t busy enough, expect another 2,000 cars daily as shoppers head to the new Walmart.
Nearly 12 years after first setting its sights on the Center Grove area, the discount retailer is preparing to open a store on State Road 135.
Once the new store opens, an estimated 11 percent more traffic will come to the State Road 135 and Smith Valley Road intersection, Greenwood planning director Bill Peeples said.
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The roadwork that the city required of Walmart has been complete, and a concrete wall was built behind the store to create a sound barrier between the supercenter at 882 S. State Road 135 and the Shepherd’s Grove subdivision.
The store’s opening is set for May 20. This will be the third Walmart in Johnson County.
Walmart originally wanted to open a larger store on the same ground in 2003, but the city plan commission denied the zoning variance required. The original store would have needed Walmart to annex land, and change properties that are zoned for residential use to commercial.
That plan was dropped.
Greenwood city officials approved the store to be built on 15 acres next to The Home Depot in 2013.
The 163,273-square-foot store has a bakery, garden center, pharmacy, vision center and two drive-thru pharmacy windows. A Subway sandwich shop and Smart Style hair salon, located in the front of the store, are finishing construction, inspections and training during the next two weeks, store manager J.R. Johnson said. The parking lot can accommodate about 650 cars.
Before Walmart was able to open, city officials required that the company install a right-turn lane and median on Smith Valley Road, which has been completed, and another median on State Road 135 to prevent left turns into the shopping center. The work cost more than $305,000.
A five-foot concrete wall was also built behind the store to create a sound barrier between the supercenter and the Shepherd’s Grove subdivision. The delivery and loading zone and parking lot lights were designed to illuminate the specific area, but not cast light into nearby neighborhoods, Johnson said.
The Walmart sign will be put up on the front of the building today. Company officials are still considering where to put a sign on State Road 135, but designs have not been approved by the city yet, Johnson said. Even without the a street-side sign installed, Johnson is not worried about residents being able to find the store, he said.
Before the store opens, Peeples will conduct one last inspection to make sure it exceeds all of the city’s requirements, including the concrete sound barrier, lighting and safety requirements. City officials should tour the building May 12, Johnson said.
Finishing touches are being put on the inside and outside of the store: About 220 employees are in the store around-the-clock to stock shelves, clean and install signage or landscaping around the building.
More than 300 residents will work in the store, and 80 percent of the employees are newly hired, Johnson said.