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SALEM Officials expect road, utility work to delay Wal-Mart



Published: Fri, May 11, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



One official said it makes sense to tie into new water and sewer lines.

By NORMAN LEIGH

VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU

SALEM -- Wal-Mart has been eyeing an August groundbreaking for a store on the city's east side, but officials expect that will be delayed.

Officials for the retail giant will weigh postponing construction from August until fall so that building the 183,000-square-foot store will coincide with a nearby city project, Roger Newberry, vice president of Seymour, Weiss & amp; Associates Inc. of Solon, said Thursday.

Weiss and Associates is handling construction details for the retail undertaking, to be located along East State Street, just east of Cunningham Road.

Wal-Mart wants to match its construction efforts with a $1.2 million street improvement project nearby.

What's planned: The city's plans include lowering Millville Hill by about 12 feet. East State Street passes over the hill, the crest of which interferes with motorists' vision, creating a hazard.

The project also will add turning lanes and traffic signals to East State Street to smooth flow in the busy commercial corridor.

In conjunction with the road improvements, the city intends to move a waterline and install new sewer pipe, which is why Wal-Mart wants to match its construction with the city's project.

Wal-Mart must tie into the water and sewer lines, Newberry explained. It makes no sense to build the store until those utilities can be tapped into, he added.

Time frame: In March, city officials predicted their road improvement project would start in late spring or early summer.

But earlier this week, Joe Julian, city service director, said it now looks as though work on the city's project won't begin until October or November.

The previously announced starting dates were never firm, Julian said.

He explained that the many requirements associated with the partly state-funded project has caused postponements.

The city is paying for about $400,000 of the $1.2 million undertaking. The state is paying the rest.

Learning this week that the city's start is being delayed, Newberry said he must consult with Wal-Mart officials to determine if they also want their August start to be postponed until fall.




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