The project, which began in April 2009, is expected to wind up this winter.
The Marlton Farmers Market, on Route 70 just east of the overpass, is a new anchor at the Marlton Greene Shopping Center, site of a long-ago Frank's Nursery. Del Buono's Bakery, which for decades has had a following at its Haddon Heights and Stratford locations, opened an outlet at the center in October. Kickbox Fusion, a fitness and personal-training studio, also began doing business in the center.
Two years ago, just as the intersection was becoming a construction site, the shopping center owner spruced up the property with a new facade and peaked roofs.
"It's been a tough year and a half, or two years," said Peter Fletcher, an owner of Canal's Bottlestop, the center's other anchor.
"A giant mountain of dirt" blocked his liquor store, Fletcher said, and business at the 18-year-old establishment dropped roughly 10 percent.
The owner of the landmark Olga's Diner earlier blamed the construction for declining revenue. The property has fallen into disrepair and become a staging area for heavy equipment.
Fletcher, however, said he was optimistic, even with months of upheaval left.
"I'm relieved that the new lanes are open. Better access to the main roads and better visibility should help," he said as customers browsed in the aisles.
The state estimates 100,000 vehicles use the crossroads daily.
Last month, Steven Lee and his father, Young Lee, opened the Marlton Farmers Market. They said they saw the location's potential.
"It's a perfect spot," said Steven Lee, whose family owns a similar business in Nanuet, N.Y. The Marlton location is not an actual farmers market. It offers more than 200 varieties of fruits and vegetables supplied by wholesalers in Philadelphia, Atlantic City, and New York, he said.
Lee plans to buy directly from Garden State farmers when they harvest their crops, he said.
Noting the popularity of Bob's Seafood shop, which sat in front of Frank's Nursery and was demolished to make way for the new road, Lee said he would also sell fish and shellfish.
On a recent visit, shopper Denny Hisler of Marlton said he was impressed by the store's prices and selection of exotic vegetables, including many he didn't recognize.
"I might go on the Internet and find recipes," Hisler said, explaining that he likes to experiment when he cooks. He said he had finally figured out how to navigate the traffic barrels and detours at the busy intersection.
"The worst is over," said Joanne Ragazzi, who has operated Ragazzi's Restaurant at the shopping center for 12 years. "There was a lot of confusion the first year. All you saw was cones and redirection."
With the project near completion, she hopes "people who fear the construction will come back," said Ragazzi, who runs the 90-seat restaurant with her brother Rosario. They have many loyal customers, she said, but some folks had hesitated to cross the intersection to "get to the other side of Marlton."
Soon, she said, Marlton won't be split in two.
Contact staff writer Jan Hefler
at 856-779-3224 or firstname.lastname@example.org.