MONTVALE — Preliminary work to expand two borough intersections began this week, in an effort to prepare for the higher traffic volume expected when supermarket giant Wegmans opens in the fall.
The 140,000-square-foot supermarket, under construction at West Grand Avenue and Mercedes Drive, will be the centerpiece for The Shoppes at DePiero Farm, a 28-acre retail complex being built on the site of the former DePiero’s Country Farm.
The borough engineer, mayor and council will share the town’s plans to improve roads surrounding the site at a special public meeting on Feb. 9 at Borough Hall. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m.
Trees were being removed this week along Spring Valley Road at its intersections with West Grand and Summit avenues to prepare for the road widening work, Mayor Michael Ghassali said.
That work is expected to start in mid-March with a completion date in September, around the time that Wegmans is scheduled to open, he said.
Affected property owners have agreed to the easement requirements to widen the roads, Ghassali said.
The borough also wants to construct a new northbound ramp onto the Garden State Parkway from Summit Avenue, he said.
From the site of the retail complex, vehicles trying to reach the Garden State Parkway northbound to New York would need to traverse the borough.
“A ramp would alleviate much of the traffic going through town. It’s going to benefit us,” Ghassali said.
The Borough Council hired KS Engineers, P.C., based in Newark, in November to design a proposal for that ramp. Cost for their services was not to exceed $19,000, according to the resolution.
Though the ramp proposal is not yet available, officials estimate that the project could take two years, the mayor said. A cost estimate for the construction of the ramp was also not available, he said.
Three Summit Avenue homes stand in the way of where the ramp would go, Ghassali said, adding that two have already been purchased and one is under negotiation.
The developer for the retail project, S. Hekemian Group, agreed to fund the road widening project and pay for the three homes to make way for the parkway ramp, Ghassali said.
He estimated the cost for the road widening at about $3 million, and $2 million to purchase the homes.
Discussions with the state Turnpike Authority, which will have to sign off on the ramp proposal, have begun, he said.
“The Turnpike Authority wants to make sure we have the deeds to the homes affected before they look at a proposal,” Ghassali said.