Friday, March 21, 2003
The store will draw more than 100 cars an hour down the driveway to it.
By DENISE DICKand STEPHEN SIFF
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- A developer must study the number of cars that will turn in and out of a proposed Super Sam's Club before he can build the mega-store off state Route 46.
In a letter to Howland Township trustees, the Ohio Department of Transportation said the study is required because the new store will lure more than 100 cars per hour down a driveway it will share with Lowe's store.
"It is necessary to analyze the impacts that increased traffic would have on the state highway system and determine what, if any, improvements to the highway system that may be required," the letter said in part.
The project has pitted officials of Warren, where the Super Sam's Club would be, against Howland, which controls both sides of state Route 46 in front of the site.
Howland officials worry that without road improvements, the Super Sam's Club -- along with the gas station and apartment buildings also planned for the 100-acre site -- would result in gridlock.
The township sent a letter to ODOT earlier this month inquiring about a traffic study. Township officials has made a public records request to the city for project plans and forwarded the plans they had to ODOT, said Darlene St. George, Howland Township administrator.
"This isn't about Super Sam's Club," St. George said. "It's about traffic."
Every day, about 25,367 cars travel state Route 46 between Youngstown-Warren Road and state Route 82. Between 1999 and 2001, there were 318 crashes on the roughly two-mile piece of road.
Michael Keys, city community development director, said the traffic study may slow the project but not by much.
"We were expecting this," he said. "We knew this was coming."
Keys said traffic congestion is a problem in the area, but he doesn't believe the Sam's Club project will make traffic any worse.
He said that up until earlier this month, the city had only preliminary drawings for the project. There wasn't an attempt to keep anything from the township.
"It seems Howland just wants to make sure everyone jumps through the hoops and nobody takes any shortcuts and we don't have a problem with that," Keys said.