Road to retail

City sets new Wal-Mart entrance

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Wal-Mart must add a third entrance to its proposed Craig supercenter, city officials decided this week.

The third entrance to the proposed store would be from Riverview Avenue, officials say. The two other entrances to the store are from Victory Way.

City officials made the decision after meetings with the Colorado Department of Transportation and representatives from the engineering firm working for Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart purchased 23 acres west of Craig earlier this year. The Arkansas-based retailer plans to build a 100,000-square-foot supercenter on the site.

Dave Costa, community development director for the city of Craig, said that after officials from the state reviewed Wal-Mart's plans, they decided the store needed an additional entrance.

The store will have two entrances from Victory Way, one with a stoplight. Victory Way is also U.S. Highway 40, which the state maintains.

"This is pretty typical when you have access off of a state highway," Costa said about the need for an additional entrance.

Wal-Mart officials on Wed--nesday did not return phone calls. But Costa said he doesn't think the need for an additional entrance will change the retailer's construction schedule.

In meetings with local officials in the fall, Wal-Mart representatives said construction could start in the spring and will take eight to 10 months to complete.

City officials considered three access roads before deciding on Riverview Avenue.

One option was to have a road from the store's fueling facility to Woodbury Drive.

But with the amount of traffic expected to pass through the fueling facility, officials decided it wasn't a good place for a road, Costa said.

The road would have intersected with one of the store's Victory Way entrances near the fuel pumps.

Having two roads at the fuel facility would have led to congestion, Costa said.

Also, Costa said, the road would have brought extra traffic to the residential neighborhood southeast of the store.

Officials decided against two other roads that they said would have negatively affected residential neighborhoods south of the store, Costa said.

The roads would have extended south from the store and would have intersected with West Third Street.

At night, headlights would have shone into people's homes, Costa said.

"We want to have the least amount of impact on the residences," Costa said.

According to traffic studies, the third access road would accommodate only about 4 percent of the traffic from the store, Costa said.

There still are some aspects of Wal-Mart's plans that must be worked out before construction begins, including landscaping in the store's sprawling parking lot.

Costa said he expects city officials to address those issues soon.

Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or bjohansson@craigdailypress.com.

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