LEWISTON – City officials are studying the effect of more retail and industry on South Lewiston roads around Turnpike exit 80.

The area around Plourde Parkway, River Road and Pleasant Street has been the focus of business development for the past few years, according to Assistant City Administrator Greg Mitchell.

“Now we want to check and see about the road capacities there,” Mitchell said. “We hope to get some general information on hot spots, where we might need to focus our energy.”

The study should be complete before year end, Mitchell said. It should help the city head off traffic problems in the area from increased use, he added.

“We’ve put a lot of public infrastructure in that area since Wal-Mart decided to locate its distribution center there,” Mitchell said. Crews have started building the first of Wal-Mart’s food warehouses south of the Maine Turnpike and west of Plourde Parkway. The company is on track to open the first warehouse in 2006.

The city just finished upgrading the utilities, roads and sewer around that warehouse. And that opened the 40 acres on the east side of Plourde Parkway for a new industrial park. Work on that park began this summer.

“And there’s a couple of hundred acres behind it that’s also suitable for commercial, industrial development,” Mitchell said.

The city is also hoping to bring a large retail development to the 40 acres along the turnpike between Plourde Parkway and Apple Road.

“All of our decisions in that area have been very deliberate and intentional to support economic growth in that area,” Mitchell said. “The next step is looking at the transportation patterns in that area.”

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