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Sole Gas Station Along West Lebanon's Route 12A Shut for Renovation

  • Sunoco employees Colby St. Andrew, left, and Scott Stubbs remove a cigarette rack from the Sunoco station on Route 12A in Lebanon, N.H. on Tuesday, September 17, 2013. The station is replacing their pipes and gas pumps, and using the opportunity provided by the downtime to remodel the inside of the station as well. Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage

    Sunoco employees Colby St. Andrew, left, and Scott Stubbs remove a cigarette rack from the Sunoco station on Route 12A in Lebanon, N.H. on Tuesday, September 17, 2013. The station is replacing their pipes and gas pumps, and using the opportunity provided by the downtime to remodel the inside of the station as well. Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage Purchase photo reprints »

  • Brian Starer operates a backhoe at the Sunoco station on Route 12A in Lebanon, N.H. on Tuesday, September 17, 2013. The station is replacing their pipes and gas pumps, and using the opportunity provided by the downtime to remodel the inside of the station as well. Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage

    Brian Starer operates a backhoe at the Sunoco station on Route 12A in Lebanon, N.H. on Tuesday, September 17, 2013. The station is replacing their pipes and gas pumps, and using the opportunity provided by the downtime to remodel the inside of the station as well. Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage Purchase photo reprints »

  • Sunoco employees Colby St. Andrew, left, and Scott Stubbs remove a cigarette rack from the Sunoco station on Route 12A in Lebanon, N.H. on Tuesday, September 17, 2013. The station is replacing their pipes and gas pumps, and using the opportunity provided by the downtime to remodel the inside of the station as well. Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage
  • Brian Starer operates a backhoe at the Sunoco station on Route 12A in Lebanon, N.H. on Tuesday, September 17, 2013. The station is replacing their pipes and gas pumps, and using the opportunity provided by the downtime to remodel the inside of the station as well. Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage

West Lebanon — Motorists coming off Interstate-89 at Exit 20 to get gas will have to drive a little farther during the next four weeks.

Sandri Stop Smart Sunoco, the Route 12A corridor’s sole gas station, is closed for renovations, forcing drivers looking to fill up to take local streets to other stations in Hartford or Hanover — or travel on to the next exit. The Stop Smart is strategically located along one of the Upper Valley’s busiest retail districts, and has benefited from the steady flow of customers going in and out of the shopping centers.

“We’ve had a very good return on that location,” Sandri Cos. Chief Operating Officer Michael Behn said. “It was time for an update.”

The 24-hour filling station closed Sept. 16 and is expected to reopen on or before Oct. 11, Bean said.

In the meantime, there are few options in the area for 24-hour service.

One of them, Doug’s Sunoco off I-89’s Exit 19 in Lebanon, has four self-service gas pumps that are open 24 hours. “We probably do between 20 and 30 gallons (per night),” said Leland Tibbits of Doug’s Sunoco, who leases the station from Sandri. “That’s what I’ve seen so far. I don’t know if it’s going to double or triple.”

Nonetheless, Tibbits expects to “see more (gallons sold) overnight and during the day.”

When the gas station reopens it will drop the Stop Smart from its name, Behn said. The renovation also includes the installation of faster-speed gas pumps for quicker fueling.

Out of the ten locations Sandri Cos. owns throughout New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and New York, the West Lebanon location is the busiest , Behn said.

“There’s probably several hundred that go through there everyday,” he said. “We’re busy all day long. It never slows down.”

The automated car wash will be demolished to make way for 15 to 20 new parking spaces which are needed follwoing the Route 12A construction project.

“We lost everything in front of the building,” Behn said. “There’s no place to park.”

He added that should solve the problem of people parking at the pumps when they enter the store.

At the gas station on Tuesday, workers were digging into the ground to reach the old pipes that will soon be replaced.

“We’re getting there,” said site manager Brian Starer of Star Construction Inc., a Castleton, Vt.-based company that specializes in petroleum equipment installation and removal.

The company’s role should be wrapped up in about three and a half weeks. “Construction is going particularly well right now,” Behn said.

Other 24-hour service gas stations in the Lebanon area include Station Market, a Mobil station in White River Junction on Sykes Mountain Ave., as well as Woodstock Sunoco Tire & Auto on Pleasant Street and the gas station near the Fort truck stop eatery on Heater Road in Lebanon.

An Irving gas station across from the Sunoco on Route 12A, near the I-89 northbound on-ramp, closed in 2010 in advance of the reconstruction of the Route 12A interchange.

City officials said there have been no plans filed, as yet, for redevelopment of the 0.78 acre parcel.

When the gas station reopens it will have the same hours.

“It’s worth being 24 hours,” Behn said. “We’ll always be 24 hours.”

Liz Sauchelli can be reached at esauchelli@vnews.com or 603-727-3305.