The long wait is over.
Tomorrow morning, Mayor Billy Keyserling along with Walmart Senior Vice President Glenda Fleming Willis and Walmart Regional General Manager Sean Real will cut the ribbon just before 8 a.m. and – voila! Walmart Lady’s Island will be in business.
Every traffic study has predicted severe impacts as a result of the new “big box” store on the Sea Island Parkway near the airport, but beginning tomorrow, the real test begins. Keep an eye on the Sea Island Parkway/Sams Point Road intersection. This is one of the first places the impact of significantly higher traffic volumes will show up.
To cope will all this, the City of Beaufort in conjunction with Beaufort County conducted a consolidated traffic study late last year for the Sea Island Parkway Corridor. Results were announced in February, but the study was done too late to have much impact on the Walmart opening. Lady’s Island residents – and anyone else traveling across Lady’s Island – will just have to deal with the impacts for awhile.
Given that the big event is now upon us, interesting to look back and see what was predicted. A Beaufort Gazette headline Jan. 29 screamed “Increased traffic from new Walmart expected to overload key Lady’s Island intersection.”
Let’s hope the Beaufort Gazette got it wrong. If not, let City and County officials know it is time to get together and commit to some action on Lady’s Island traffic, even if after the fact. We’ve known about Walmart for ten years, so all this comes as no surprise.