Dirt could start turning any day at 1575 Pacheco Blvd., as Wal-Mart has obtained the necessary permits to begin its expansion to a supercenter.
"They are clear to move forward right now," said Community Development Director Paula Fitzgerald, who confirmed that the big-box retailer was issued a building permit in April.
Fitzgerald said Wal-Mart has until July 4 to show the city's building department that it is using the permit.
Last week, Wal-Mart spokeswoman Rachel Wall said it is unclear whether her corporation will use the building permit before it expires because the company's construction schedule has yet to be finalized. Wall said Wal-Mart is still planning to open its supercenter in 2014.
"The planning process, including public roadway improvements, is continuing and we look forward to beginning work on the expansion," Wall said.
In September the state Department of Transportation expressed concerns that westbound motorists on Highway 152 will try to access the supercenter, and the three new shops expected to accompany it, by making left turns in front of traffic.
As a solution, Caltrans proposed an extended median starting on Highway 152 near Badger Flat Road and continuing to Stonecreek Boulevard. At the time, the city did not believe the median was necessary.
Wal-Mart's first traffic plan was to extend Stonecreek Boulevard on the land north from Prairie Springs Road near the store. The land, which was owned by Stonecreek Properties, is in foreclosure. Wal-Mart cannot obtain permission to build the street.
A revised arrangement was approved. It included a traffic signal at the intersection of Stonecreek Boulevard and Highway 152 and adding left turn lanes on Badger Flat Road.
The Los Banos Walmart store employs about 225. Eighty employees will be added when the supercenter opens.
"We are proud of our nearly 19-year history in Los Banos and look forward to providing our customers a full-service, one-stop-shopping option next year," Wall said.
The Walmart supercenter will be 67,200 square feet larger than the current store and will include a larger grocery section, a full-service deli and a bakery. The project will be accompanied by three commercial retail spaces totaling 69,300 square feet. According to city records, the three spaces will be for restaurants and retail shops.