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Traffic study issues raised page 2
Plaintiffs' transportation expert faults Walmart traffic analysis for Wilderness retail center

The Orange Walmart battle
Date published: 10/15/2010


Walmart's traffic analysis for the intersection relies on a new road being built across the King family's adjoining land west of the retail center, yet the retailer's talks with the Kings terminated with no agreement on that access, Ismart's report says. The western entrance was supposed to handle both eastbound and westbound Route 3 traffic, easing pressure on the intersection and the eastern entrance into the development.

"Without the King Access Road, the traffic at the Route 3/20 intersection will create even greater congestion than predicted, yet the [traffic analysis] did not analyze that possibility or propose any mitigation measure to address it," Ismart wrote.

Neither Walmart's traffic analysis nor the conditions that Orange supervisors placed on the special-use permit for the big-box project addressed increased congestion resulting from the short right-turn lane on northbound Route 20. "This will be a problem with or without the King Access Road, but the absence of [the road] will exacerbate it," Ismart wrote.

The county didn't require Walmart to mitigate congestion from westbound vehicles on Route 3 turning left onto Route 20. Issues with Route 20 right of way and widening the Wilderness Run bridge could interfere with adding a "receiving" lane on Route 20 and a second turn lane on Route 3, as planned.

Walmart's analysis didn't consider the 51-acre development's impact on Route 20 traffic other than at its intersection with Route 3.

Ismart's analysis asserts that the retail center's traffic will slow and bunch vehicles on two-lane Route 20 south of Route 3, create problems for drivers turning left from Route 20, and possibly cause more accidents.

Widening Route 20 in the area is unlikely because the road passes through the Wilderness battlefield within Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, and the National Park Service opposes enlarging it there, he wrote.

Ismart examined the project area in August and September, evaluated the study done by D.C.-based Gorove/Slade Associates Inc. for Walmart and the tract's developer, and reviewed documents the plaintiffs obtained from the county during the legal battle's discovery process, which continues.

Clint Schemmer: 540/368-5029
Email: cschemmer@freelancestar.com

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