Connecting to Camino de Santa Fe

Camino de Santa Fe (4)The traffic patterns for the east end of East Olive Street in Lamar would be altered with the completion of Camino de Santa Fe to the Highway.  As it is, the dead end street separating Walmart and Dollar General falls short of reaching East Olive Street by about 100 feet.  The City of Lamar has been working with CDOT for several years to bridge that gap, but financing and how the connection would be used is still a couple of miles apart.

Camino de Santa Fe (1)Walmart was a stand-alone store for several years before Dollar General was constructed.  Initial plans called for a mini-shopping center to be built, but finances didn’t materialize and the building was down-sized to Dollar General and a separate office/store next to it.  Camino de Santa Fe was the only way of reaching Dollar General, but only through access to the Walmart entrance off East Olive, or by coming up Parmenter Street from the Camino intersection.  The new addition would eliminate the need for Dollar General shoppers to use the Walmart entrance or drive around to Parmenter, but the lack of funding for the project and CDOT’s plans for how motorists entered and exited Camino have hindered the latest project development for the past two years.

Camino de Santa Fe (2)Lamar City administrator, John Sutherland, said he has had some hope that progress on the completion can be accomplished, to the point that the city will conduct some preliminary earth work at the site for future curbs and gutters.  The sticking point is finance, stating that CDOT’s requirements for the city could run between $60k and $250K.  To complicate the situation, Sutherland said CDOT wants Lamar to erect concrete barriers which will direct eastbound East Olive traffic in and out of Camino de Santa Fe using only right turns, preventing any westbound motorists from being able to turn left onto the street.  A turn from the west would be blocked.  By the same token, a driver leaving Camino onto East Olive could not turn left, only right and again to the east.

Camino de Santa Fe (3)Another older option is to move the traffic light between Big R and Walmart to the new intersection once the road extension is completed.  Sutherland said several months ago, during a council breakfast meeting, that Walmart paid for the signal light at their main entrance and the idea of two lights in such close proximity made no sense for a traffic flow.  The City Administrator said the idea of painting the barriers on the roadway was rejected by CDOT, so at this point more negotiations to come up with a mutually agreeable project is still developing.

By Russ Baldwin


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