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Walmart to add traffic to C.R. 486 construction zone

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By Mike Wright

LECANTO — The road isn’t ready, but Walmart is.

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The new Walmart opens Wednesday even as workers are 11 months away from completing the final leg of the widening of County Road 486.

While county officials expect traffic to pick up with the store’s opening, they hope motorists will be patient as the widening project continues.

“There’s definitely going to be an impact with additional traffic, no doubt about that,” assistant county administrator Ken Frink said. “We ask for the public’s patience. I think they’ll be really happy with the end result.”

The $11.3 million road widening project from State Road 44 to about a mile west of C.R. 491 is on schedule for completion at the end of this year, county spokeswoman Lindsay Ubinas said.

Frink said the Walmart traffic impact on the road still under construction may not be that significant since much of the population areas near the new store are Beverly Hills, Citrus Springs, Pine Ridge and Citrus Hills — all to the north and east of the store.

The Walmart also required a traffic signal at its entrance on C.R. 486. A traffic study showed the 116,000-square-foot store would generate about 389 peak-hour trips, which warranted a signal.

Gulf to Lakes Corp., the property’s developer, paid for the traffic signal.

Frink said the signal and the C.R. 491 intersection signal are synchronized by fiber-optic cable to make sure they change signals nearly simultaneously to avoid traffic backups between the two signals.

“We normally wouldn’t let signals that close,” he said, “unless they’re synchronized.”

Contact Chronicle reporter Mike Wright at 352-563-3228 or mwright@chronicleonline.com.