A proposal to allow only right turns from Riverhead’s Kroemer Avenue onto Route 58 met with some opposition during a public hearing Tuesday in Town Hall. Some residents said traffic leaving Riverhead Raceway would be negatively impacted by the plan.
The Suffolk County Department of Public Works is recommending the changes in conjunction with plans for a Super Walmart store on property between Applebee’s and the state highway yard on the north side of Route 58.
According DPW chief engineer Bill Hillman, the traffic plan for Walmart calls for cars to enter and leave via the roadway across from Kroemer Avenue that currently serves as an entrance for Applebee’s restaurant.
The traffic plan would see southbound cars exiting onto Route 58 in two right-turn lanes and two left-turn lanes. Because of this flow of cars, Mr. Hillman said, it would no longer be feasible to allow northbound traffic on Kroemer Avenue to make a left turn onto Route 58 or head straight across into the Applebee’s entrance.
“Suffolk County has made a $12 million investment in improving the capacity of Route 58,” Mr. Hillman said, referring to the widening of Route 58 undertaken last year. He added that bad decisions could negate those improvements and said relatively few cars enter Route 58 from Kroemer Avenue.
But resident Sal Mastropaolo said traffic leaving Carl’s Equipment and Riverhead Raceway is going to want to head west, which it can currently do by using Kroemer Avenue, where there’s a traffic light. If those cars try to turn left onto Route 58 from the raceway entrance, it could be dangerous, he said.
Ken LaBohner of Aquebogue had similar concerns. “I think we ought to send this back to the engineers,” he said.
Sandra Mott of Riverhead feared residents would get into accidents learning the new system.
Mr. Hillman said there would be a concrete median guiding traffic into right turns from Kroemer, minimizing any safety hazards.