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IKEA says it will improve nearby roads

Popular furniture retailer IKEA is opening a store in Sweetwater and likely bringing new traffic with it, but the Swedish company plans to soften the impact by improving roads.

Set to open next summer on 14.6 acres across from the northwest corner of the Dolphin Mall, near the intersection of the Florida Turnpike and the Dolphin Expressway, the 416,000 square-foot store will be the largest of four locations in Florida.

According to a traffic analysis done last summer by consulting firm Kimley-Horn and Associates, the projected traffic increase won’t push local limits and don’t merit any road improvements.

But the Swedish company wants to add turn lanes on two nearby roads anyway.

Joseph Roth, spokesman for IKEA, said the company will pay to add turn lanes on Dolphin Ring Road and 117th Avenue near the store, adding lanes for the cars to slow down on the approach.

“We don’t just go by capacity,” he said. “We go by convenience.”

The store will sit on top of a two-story parking garage with 1,500 spaces, which Roth said is typical of IKEA stores in order to keep people moving in and out smoothly.

“If you have plenty of parking, that automatically helps traffic circulation,” he said.

The other IKEA locations in Florida are in Tampa, Orlando and Sunrise.

Follow @joeflech on Twitter.

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