WESTBROOK – A new Walgreens Pharmacy to town will mean changes to the traffic patterns of the Westbrook Town Center.
First Selectman Noel Bishop at a recent Board of Selectmen meeting highlighted his concern that such changes could start before the end of the busy summer season.
In an effort to minimize those disruptions, READCO Development Company of Old Lyme has agreed to wait until after Labor Day to start work on improving town center roads.
“We want to maximize the work and minimize the interference,” said READCO development manager Wayne Fraser.
Bishop said residents were relieved to hear the news at recent press conference held at the Mulvey Municipal Center.
Fraser said comments from residents and owners of businesses in the town center area will be used in developing a plan to ensure disruptions are kept at a minimum.
In terms of on-site work, the construction of the 14,800 square foot Walgreens Pharmacy has already begun and Fraser expects the pharmacy to be open by February.
The pharmacy is expected to have similar features as its store in Clinton which has a drive-through pharmacy, a photo lab, and is open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.
This project redevelops 1211-1223 Boston Post Road, parcels which formerly consisted of a Cumberland Farms plaza, the abandoned Tom’s Super Saver gasoline station, and the former pad of the Westbrook Post Office.
At this time, Fraser said plans to build a 7,600 square foot retail building on the rear of the site are on hold until potential tenants approach the developer and express interest.
Fraser believes the site of the new building will be left as a grassed area but will be built on.
“Once people see the new Walgreens including the landscaping in the area, they will want to be part of this,” Fraser said.
$1 million of improvements to the traffic flow of the town center area will be paid for by READCO, Fraser said.
These improvements include making Westbrook Place and Golf Links Road two-way streets, eliminating the traffic light at Essex Road and Boston Post Road by replacing it with a stop sign, and installing a traffic light at the intersection of Westbrook Place, Boston Post Road, and the main entrance to Walgreens.
There will be a prohibition on left-hand turns onto Boston Post Road from Essex Road, which could be problematic for drivers looking for parking in town center.
Drivers traveling north on Boston Post Road will have a dedicated left-turn lane to facilitate traffic heading on Westbrook Place to access Interstate 95 and the Tanger Factory Outlets.
Additionally, the intersection of Westbrook Place and Boston Post Road will be redesigned to discourage multiple vehicles from different directions turning onto Westbrook Place simultaneously.
Changes to this area will limit access to Knothe Drive to Route 1 southbound motorists only.
Additionally, the developer will pay to install two underground drainage ditches.
That portion of the project, Fraser said, probably will be addressed in the first phase.