WALLINGFORD — As construction of a Chick-fil-A restaurant on Route 5 continues, some residents are concerned the fast-food business will cause traffic delays on the busy road. Town officials, however, believe Route 5 traffic improvements will allow the road to handle more vehicles.
Last year, the Atlanta-based company received local approval to tear down the Midas building at 1098 N. Colony Road (Route 5) and construct a 5,090-square-foot building. The fast-food chain also purchased part of Lowe’s Home Improvement’s parking lot. The restaurant will include a drive-through window, 124 seats, outdoor seating and an indoor playground.
Wallingford will be the fast-food chain’s third location in the state. Cindy Chapman, a spokeswoman for Chick-fil-A, said the company is aiming for a mid-October opening.
Some town residents took to a Facebook forum to express concerns about possible traffic delays along one of the town’s busiest stretches. The restaurant is located in front of Lowe’s; across the street from Home Depot and down the road from BJ’s Wholesale Club and another fast-food restaurant — Sonic Drive-In. There is also a Dunkin Donuts and two other sit down restaurants in the vicinity.
Despite being in a busy area, Town Engineer John Thompson said the road should be able to “adequately” handle the traffic. He cited recent traffic studies and improvements to the area.
“Unless something more extraordinary happens that I’m not aware of, they have adequate space to handle it,” Thompson said. “... If there’s any traffic impact, it’s probably going to be in the parking lot rather than the street.”
Traffic studies were conducted before Sonic Drive-In opened in 2010, Thompson said, and an emphasis was placed on making sure traffic wouldn’t be congested on Route 5.
While there was congestion when Sonic Drive-In opened, Thompson said most of it was located on the restaurant’s property. He added that Chick-fil-A has more parking available because of the lot it purchased from Lowe’s.
When Home Depot and Lowe’s were built in Wallingford, Thompson said traffic studies resulted in a widened road, additional through-lanes and a median that prevented motorists from cutting across Route 5.
“It was rather significant and costly improvements that were done,” Thompson said. “For the most part, they are working and haven’t experienced any congesting there.”
The town’s Economic Development Commission hasn’t discussed or had meetings about traffic in the area, according to Tim Ryan, the economic development specialist. He added that an increase in traffic isn’t a negative thing.
“Will it add traffic? I hope so,” Ryan said. “If you look at Route 5, that area is the best suited to handle it.”