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Wal-Mart will pay more for roadwork

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Last year, a major retailer estimated $200,000 would be enough to pay for a median and turn lane the city was requiring at an intersection near a planned Center Grove area store.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. looked at the work required for the intersection of Smith Valley Road and State Road 135, one of the county’s busiest intersections, estimated the cost and then cut the city a check.

When Greenwood tried to hire a contractor to do the work this summer, the city couldn’t find a single company willing to do the job for less than $285,000. So, officials went back to Wal-Mart, which is cutting another check for more than $100,000.

Once the city gets the additional money, it can hire a contractor for the road construction. Also this summer, motorists should expect to see construction beginning on the 150,000-square-foot Walmart store, according to a statement from the company.

Wal-Mart representatives told the city the company didn’t have enough project managers to build all of its planned stores last year, so the new buildings had to be constructed in phases, community development services director Mark Richards said. That delayed the Greenwood store’s construction. The 150,000-square-foot supercenter initially was expected to open this summer but now is slated to have its grand opening next spring, according to a statement from Wal-Mart.

The city initially requested bids from construction companies in April but didn’t sign any contracts because the estimates came in higher than what Wal-Mart wanted to pay. The retailer had given the city about $200,000, which was what the company’s engineers estimated the project should cost.

Greenwood requested new bids to get a cost closer to that amount. When the new batch of estimates from contractors came in, the amounts were higher, so the city had to go back to Wal-Mart to ask for more money.

If Greenwood hires a company within the next few weeks, the project will cost about $305,000, which is a price Wal-Mart has now agreed to, Richards said. The city will have to rebid the project again if Wal-Mart doesn’t send additional money for the roadwork before July 12.

Reasons for increases in the price of the roadwork could include the rising costs of asphalt, Richards said.

Wal-Mart hasn’t gotten its building permit, but since the company has agreed to pay extra for a nearby road project, then it appears the retailer doesn’t want to delay construction further, city planning director Bill Peeples said.

The retailer planned to hire a contractor for store construction this month, Richards said.

The store will feature a pharmacy and garden center and will sell groceries, clothing and a wide variety of other goods.

Wal-Mart agreed to pay for a turn lane and median on Smith Valley Road to keep traffic moving through the intersection with State Road 135. The intersection is among the areas with the highest number of vehicle accidents in the city. The hope is that the turn lane will keep traffic flowing, and the median will reduce accidents by eliminating some of the left turns motorists make in front of oncoming traffic.

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