WalMart-related traffic plans mulled for Route 58 & Kroemer Avenue

Cars heading north on Riverhead’s Kroemer Avenue would be prohibited from turning left onto Route 58 under a traffic plan being considered by the Town Board.

Suffolk County Department of Public Works is suggesting the plan as a way to deal with the large number vehicles expected to be heading in and out of what will soon be a massive super Walmart store on the north side of Route 58, across from Tanger Outlets. Once built, the Walmart would use the same access road that currently feeds the Applebee’s restaurant. That access road aligns with an existing traffic light at Route 58 and Kroemer Avenue.

Bill Hillman, a county engineer, recommended in a letter to town officials last month that left turns onto Route 58 be banned. He also suggested no left turns onto Route 58 from what will be a newly constructed western exit at the WalMart property.

The land slated for the Walmart is located between Applebee’s and the New York State Department of Transportation yard on Route 58.

“The DPW is requesting this to keep the flow of traffic on Route 58,” Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter said during Thursday’s pubic Town Board work session, at which officials considered the plan. “There is going to be two lanes of traffic coming out of Walmart to make a right turn [onto 58] and you’re not going to be able to time the light for two lanes of traffic making a right and still allow traffic from Kroemer Avenue to make a left.”

Mr. Walter said he was told allowing left turns onto Route 58 from Kroemer Avenue “would mess up the timing on the all the other traffic lights to the east.”

The Town Board has tentatively planned a 7:20 p.m. April 20 public hearing in Town Hall on the Kroemer left turn ban proposal.

Mr. Hillman said traffic counts showed relatively few drivers looking to head west from Kroemer Avenue onto Route 58, and that the drivers that do want to head in that direction can do so from Route 25 which also intersects with Kroemer Avenue just to the south.

Councilman John Dunleavy reminded that the state DOT still is planning to put a traffic light at the Route 25 and Kroemer Avenue intersection, for which the Walmart developer, New Jersey-based Headriver LLC., is required to pay.

“I don’t like it,” Councilman Jim Wooten said flatly of the left turn ban. “If they can put a left turn signal by Home Depot they can do it here.”

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