Traffic jams at the exit to the Route 58 development home to Costco, Marshalls and HomeGoods have led Riverhead Town Planning officials to seek ways to alleviate the problem.
Jeff Murphree, the town building and planning administrator, said traffic issues have arisen since the newest stores opened at the property earlier this year. A PetSmart and Ulta Beauty store are also on the property and opened earlier this year. A HomeSense store, which is also part of the HomeGoods chain, is under construction.
The three southbound lanes leading to the exit onto Route 58 have caused the biggest problem. There’s a left-turning lane, a right-turning lane and a middle lane that allows drivers to cross Route 58 and access the Sabor Riverhead shopping center home to Dick’s Sporting Goods, Christmas Tree Shops and others.
Courtney Reilly, an engineer representing the developer, Brixmor Property Group, said her company, VHB, has been coordinating with county officials to research the problem. She said an employee conducted traffic counts at the site for three weekends.
One problem, she said, is few drivers use the middle lane.
Ms. Reilly said the county potentially may agree on a proposal to have the left and center lanes become left-turn lanes, and the right lane became both a straight lane and a right-turn lane.
“I think this layout will solve the problems,” Planning Board member George Nunnaro said at Thursday’s meeting.
Officials are also hoping to improve the signage both at the traffic signal and inside the shopping center.
Chris Kent, an attorney for Brixmor, added that the traffic signal for cars existing Saber onto Route 58 have 110 seconds of green time, whereas the one on Brixmor has been reduced by the county to 80 seconds of green time. He said Brixmor is trying to get that increased.
Brixmor was also seeking to amend its current site plan. The developers are seeking to divide a previously approved — but not yet started — 12,000-square-foot building closest to Route 58 into two smaller buildings.
The two smaller buildings would be 7,000 square feet and 5,000 square feet. Potential tenants were not disclosed.
The Planning Board tabled a resolution to approve splitting the proposed building because it wouldn’t have passed, since board member Ed Densieski was absent, board member Richard O’Dea planned to abstain, and board member Joe Baier planned to vote no, saying he felt the traffic issues should be resolved.
The board will take up the resolution again at its July 19 meeting, which starts at 3 p.m.