New Publix, opening soon, may initially increase traffic in Westshore area 

A new Publix grocery store is getting ready to open its doors in a busy part of Tampa next week. The store is at the intersection of Kennedy Boulevard and South Gardenia Avenue, a location that can be frustrating for drivers during rush hour. 

"Usually right around 4 or 5 o'clock, it gets pretty packed, so I could see maybe like one or two hours a day getting affected pretty heavily," said Kevin Fealy, a tobacco and wine sales representative who regularly drives through that area.

Vik Bhide, the transportation director for the city of Tampa, said drivers should have some of their concerns eased knowing Publix was required to conduct traffic studies and propose ways to alleviate road issues before beginning construction.

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"They made sidewalk connectivity improvements, they made signal improvements on Kennedy and Gardenia and they made some on-site improvements to facilitate better traffic flow," Bhide explained.

Bhide did note that traffic will likely still be heavier at first. "Expect a little erratic traffic conditions, things that you're not used to, typically,” Bhide said. “Know that over time things settle into a rhythm. And as soon as we capture that rhythm, we'll make the adjustments necessary to signal timings."

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The store is scheduled to open February 27 at 7 a.m.