Sentinel staff report–
If you’ve driven through the Costco and Walmart on Auburn Boulevard previously week or so, you’ve likely seen some heavy machinery, construction signs, and somewhat-confusing traffic detours in the parking lot.
So what’s happening?
The jobs are part of a project that was approved by the city’s planning commission this past year to improve traffic flow at the often-crowded Stock Ranch shopping plaza. Plans approved by the commission also gave the green light for the construction of nine new buildings at the site for future restaurants and retail — but that work has not yet begun.
“The job underway right now is all associated with the circulation improvements,” said Citrus Heights Community Services Director Rhonda Sherman in reaction to an email inquiry about the project from The Sentinel on Friday. “It's not related to any building construction.”
A map provided by Sherman shows circulation modifications underway range from the addition of a new four-way stop in front of Costco, as well as realignment of the existing four-way stop in front of Walmart. A staff report presented to the planning commission this past year stated that work would also include \”reducing conflict points along the main aisle,\” and extending the left-turn lane in the signalized entrance.
Sherman said she was without an estimate for how long traffic detours at the site would be in place, but referred questions to Gary Albertson of Project Management Applications, who's in charge of coordinating the project for California C&S Properties, which owns the home. Albertson could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.
At the time the project was approved last year, commissioners acknowledged existing problems with traffic flow within the parking lot and seemed optimistic that the new 4-way stop and other modifications is needed improve traffic. Commissioner Leah Cox called the plaza “screwy to drive through” and said it can be dangerous and hard to see in certain areas.
From September: Developer gets green light for more restaurants along Auburn Blvd
Following approval from the project last September, Citrus Heights Senior Planner Casey Kempenaar told The Sentinel the proposal to modify the traffic loop and permit for more restaurants went \”hand in hand,\” with improved traffic flow permitting more high-traffic restaurants to be approved. He said restaurants generally will generate more trips than a typical retail establishment, which presented a barrier to adding more restaurants at the location.
Future tenants for the new buildings haven't been publicly released, but approved plans indicate a couple,300-square-feet restaurant along Auburn Boulevard as well as other buildings that range from 5,000 to 8,500 square feet. Another large 34,000-square-feet building can also be shown on the proposed site plan, located on the eastern side of the existing entry road before Walmart.
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