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IKEA Traffic Likely To Slow Wednesday Commute

Elle Moxley

If your morning commute takes you through Merriam, Kan., expect delays Wednesday as IKEA opens and draws additional traffic to the area.

Merriam Police will be routing customers in along Johnson Drive and out on Shawnee Mission Parkway for the next several days, which will likely slow traffic along both roads and Interstate 35.

"My advice to people who are going to work and have to travel through Merriam is to leave a little early," says Merriam Police Chief Michael Daniels. "If they have another route to take and they're just passing through, that would be advisable."

Daniels says the traffic plan is six months in the making, based on what other cities learned when IKEA entered those markets.

"We've never opened an IKEA in Merriam, but we've talked to other jurisdictions and agencies that have IKEAs, and they say the first three weeks there is a large increase in traffic," he says.

Daniels says the department will know what the "new normal" will look like in about six weeks. He says a pre-opening event last week drew about 3,000 customers to the store with no problems.

"Traffic is the concern," Daniels says. "There isn't a huge increase in crime related to IKEA."

IKEA is footing the bill for additional traffic officers during its opening. The police department is planning a temporary relocation of its patrol operations to the Merriam Community Center so it can handle traffic from its headquarters directly south of IKEA.

People began lining up outside the Merriam store Monday, 48 hours before it opened. KCUR talked to some of them here.

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