Wake County

Big crowds will mean traffic jams outside Raleigh’s new Wegmans store

If you’re not planning to go to the grand opening of the Wegmans on Sunday, you might want to avoid the area altogether.

Both the company and the city are expecting big crowds when North Carolina’s first Wegmans grocery store opens on Wake Forest Road, just south of the Beltline. The company got permission to put up electronic signs on Wake Forest and the Beltline warning drivers to “EXPECT DELAYS” from Sunday through Tuesday.

The company is also paying for 20 off-duty Raleigh police officers to direct traffic Sunday in and out of the Midtown East shopping center that Wegmans anchors. The shopping center fronts on Wake Forest Road but can also be reached from behind on Industrial Drive off Six Forks Road.

The City of Raleigh is advising people to expect heavy traffic around the store, which opens at 7 a.m. Sunday. People just passing through on Wake Forest Road might want to consider taking Atlantic Avenue, Capital Boulevard or Six Forks Road instead.

“We expect there to be a lot of congestion, a lot of excitement,” said city spokeswoman Julia Milstead. “And what we’re telling people is if you’re not going there, to find an alternative route, because there will be backups.”

If you’re tempted to avoid the crowds by going to Wegmans in the wee hours of the morning, be aware: Unlike some grocery stores, Wegmans is closed between midnight and 6 a.m.

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Richard Stradling covers transportation for The News & Observer. Planes, trains and automobiles, plus ferries, bicycles, scooters and just plain walking. Also, #census2020. He’s been a reporter or editor for 32 years, including the last 20 at The N&O. 919-829-4739, rstradling@newsobserver.com.