Motorists are being advised to allow plenty of time for their journey and consider alternative methods of transport as the city gears up for IKEA’s opening weekend.
Sheffield City Council is expecting similar numbers on the roads to those normally experienced during the Christmas holiday period with IKEA opening its doors for the first time from Thursday.
Councillor Jack Scott, cabinet member for transport and infrastructure, said: “I’m delighted that IKEA is here and know that its store will be a big success. The store has excellent tram links with a Supertram station just yards away.
“The store had encouraged people to use public transport wherever possible.
“IKEA Sheffield backs on to the Sheffield to Tinsley Canal and can be accessed by cycle or on foot. I want people to look at these options but, if they have to drive, to allow plenty of time to do so and to follow updates from Highways England or radio traffic announcements.
“I know that we need to do more to improve the infrastructure close to the store and this has been acknowledged by IKEA and Meadowhall too.
“We have announced a feasibility study looking at capacity issues close to the Meadowhall junction of the M1 and will continue to assess how we can adapt to this rapidly changing area of the city.”
Sheffield City Council will be watching the road network closely from its traffic control centre and posting traffic updates on Twitter using the hashtag #ikeatraffic.
We will also use our digital signs throughout the Don Valley to inform motorists of any delays they face.
The council is working with Meadowhall and others to unlock additional parking spaces usually used at busy times of the year. Ikea will also provide extra staff to operate overflow car parks and ensure people can get to the store easily.
Ikea is the only store in the country to have a tram stop, Carbrook, on its doorstep. Shoppers can use it as an alternative to beat the traffic queues.
The capacity of the IKEA Sheffield car park is 983 spaces and car parking spaces will turn round quickly.
The expectation is there will be an additional 900 vehicles per hour in the Lower Don Valley during peak time over the Thursday 28 September to Sunday 1 October opening period. The initial four-day opening period is likely to be on a par with peak Christmas days in terms of traffic levels on the network.
Garry Deakin, store manager for IKEA Sheffield, added: “I am incredibly excited to open the doors to IKEA Sheffield on Thursday and thrilled that so many people are planning to join us as we celebrate our arrival in the city.
“We have been working closely with Sheffield City Council to manage traffic to the store and would encourage everyone to use public transport where possible. IKEA Sheffield is extremely well-served by the Supertram and local bus routes so people can travel easily between the store and the city centre.”