Wegmans, developers conscious of community qualms about increased traffic, noise
Posted June 11, 2019 5:42 p.m. EDT
Updated June 12, 2019 9:10 a.m. EDT
Chapel Hill, N.C. — Even a popular grocery brand like Wegmans, with it's almost cult-like following, faces hurdles in building new stores. Residents who welcome the selection a new grocery store brings may dread the noise and increased traffic that come with it.
With the upstate New York chain planning six stores in the Triangle, they have plenty to learn to make sure those new neighbors will roll out the welcome wagon.
Wildred Mack has enjoyed the sounds of nature for nearly 20 years from her home in Chapel Hill. But, she says, the Wegmans planned for U.S. Highway 15/501 will change all that.
"There is never going to be a quiet time anymore," she said.
Mack acknowledged the grocer and the developer have taken steps to ease some of her concerns.
"The fellow who is property manager, he said that they are supposed to put some boundaries here and some trees there, but I will be dead and gone by the time they grow," she said.
While crews clear the land to make way for the Wegmans near Fordham Boulevard, the Town of Chapel Hill has been working on a plan to calm the traffic, including stop signs, crosswalks and diverters to prevent drivers from cutting through neighborhoods.
Similar work is being done in Raleigh, on Wake Forest Road. Crews have extended Wake Towne Drive to create a back entrance in an effort to redistribute traffic.
Logan Hodges says the upgrade is worth the hassles.
"It's going to provide a lot more options that we need. With Kroger moving out of Raleigh, we are going to need those options," he said.
Mack, too, is happy that Wegmans is coming. She just wishes it wasn't so close.
"What can I do? I am an old, retired lady," she said. "What can I do?"
Her fellow Chapel Hill residents have made their voices heard at a series of public meetings. About 40 people interested in the topic showed up Tuesday night at the last of three public meetings about the traffic plan.
Chapel Hill leaders will synthesize the public comment. Construction on the new Wegmans is estimated to begin in January 2020.