SUN BAY SOUTH - Construction on the new Wal-Mart Supercenter on Gandy Boulevard is scheduled to begin in March and last nine months, Wal-Mart officials told residents this week. The retail giant has bought the five parcels it needs to build its 146,000-square-foot store and is going through the site permitting process with the city, representative Jim Porter said. The properties are zoned commercial, so no public hearing will be scheduled with the city council before construction begins. Scott Gilner, project engineer with Kimley-Horn and Associates, said the work will coincide with the state's plans to enhance Gandy with a 30-foot-wide median and aesthetic improvements. The state will accept bids on the Gandy project this month. Work is supposed to begin in January, Gilner said. Residents said they are concerned about the effect Wal-Mart will have on congested roads. Millie McFadden, who lives on Pearl Avenue, is worried drivers will use Pearl as a cut-through to avoid Gandy. 'We see the traffic impacts that are coming for what is a residential area,' said Al Steenson, president of the Gandy Civic Association. 'Lois Avenue is a two-lane street. There are serious issues at Lois and Pearl.' Gilner said Wal-Mart plans to make Lois three lanes, with dedicated through lanes. The store will have two entrances on Lois and one on Gandy. Delivery trucks won't be allowed to cut through the neighborhoods, Gilner said. Wal-Mart expects about 30 truck deliveries a week. Wal-Mart plans 635 parking spaces for the one-story building.Reporter Michael H. Samuels can be reached at (813) 835-2109 or email@example.com.
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