Hearing set on Kroemer Avenue left turn ban

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The Town will hold a public hearing on banning left turns from Kroemer Avenue onto Route 58 heading west.

A proposal to ban left turns onto Route 58 from Kroemer Avenue will be the subject of a May 3 public hearing before the Riverhead Town Board. That meeting starts at 2 p.m.

The measure is part of the traffic plan for Headriver LLC’s proposed new Super Walmart store on the north side of Route 58, across from the Tanger Outlets, and was recommended by the Suffolk County Department of Public Works. The hearing also seeks comment on a proposed ban on left turns from an as-yet unbuilt western exit from the Walmart onto Route 58, which has a traffic light and intersects with Kroemer Avenue.

The traffic plan calls for two right-turn lanes heading south out of the existing Applebee’s lot, which would also serve Walmart, onto Route 58. But with two lanes of southbound traffic making right turns out of the proposed Walmart, officials felt left turns from northbound traffic coming off Kroemer Avenue wouldn’t be feasible.

Bill Hillman, chief engineer at DPW, said in a letter to town officials the county’s traffic data shows fewer cars seek to turn left onto Route 58 from Kroemer Avenue.

The proposal would still allow left turns for cars heading south onto Route 58 from the Applebee’s exit at Kroemer Avenue.
The Town Board had originally planned to hold the hearing this month, but Supervisor Sean Walter said he wanted to meet with DPW first.

The Walmart proposal had been tied up in litigation for several years. Lawsuits challenging its approvals were filed by local members of the United Food and Commercial Workers union, which has opposed Walmart nationwide, and by the owner of the shopping center that houses the existing Riverhead Walmart. But last year, a state appellate court overturned two lower court rulings against the Walmart proposal and gave the application a green light. The new Walmart would eventually replace the existing store, which is farther east on Route 58.

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