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New store on Sheridan hitting some roadblocks

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LAWTON, Okla_It's not getting as much hype as Target, but there is another supermarket coming to town. It's called Aldi Food Market and there's a plot of land waiting for it on Sheridan across from Wal-Mart. The developer is waiting on a 'thumbs-up' from the city, but there has been a bit of a hold up. Some city officials feel the proposed turning lane to enter the store off Sheridan is too short.

The length of the turning lane was brought up in last week's council meeting. Some councilmen feel the peak traffic hours would overwhelm the proposed turn lane. City engineers are taking a second look to see if there's any room to grow.

"What's designed right now is about a 120 foot turn bay storage, that's where all the cars will wait as they wait to turn left, and then it has about 120 foot of transition. It's actually a fairly standard turn bay in the City of Lawton, kind of a minimum requirement," Lawton Community Services Director Richard Rogalski said.

Councilman Doug Wells was one of the strongest critics to the plan at last week's meetings. He's concerned that a minimum sized lane won't be able to accommodate that kind of traffic.

"The question is why not make it a little longer? Well, in this case the median is a little restrained by another entrance that is from northbound traffic turning left into the shopping center north of Wal-Mart. So, the transition on this particular turn bay runs right into the transition on the next one. They've made it as long as they can with out reducing the storage to that northern bound movement."

City engineers said they would revisit the issue by conducting an impact analysis which just means studying the area.

"You know the square footage of your store, you know the traffic out, the number of cars on Sheridan Road. We have traffic counts that tell us what our peak hours would be. And you basically decide how many trips there will be in the peak hour."

There will be no ground breaking until council and the engineers can come to an agreement on the length of the turn lane. However, Rogalski said he's not anticipating the traffic engineers to change anything. He said it's exactly the same size of the northbound turn lane into Wal-Mart which, he's assuming will see far more traffic than the Aldi Food Market.

Rogalski said he expects council to revisit and vote on the issue in the next few weeks.

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