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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 September, 2003, 17:06 GMT 18:06 UK
Rally chaos fear on Ikea day
The Cardiff store will be its second largest in the UK
Plans are being made to prevent gridlock in Cardiff when thousands descend on the city to shop at the new Ikea store and watch the start of the Wales Rally GB.

Thousands are expected to pour into the city as the new store opens its door and the rally begins on the same day - Thursday, 6 November.

Organisers are working with the county council to try to avoid traffic chaos across the city as huge crowds are expected to make their way to Cardiff Bay.

But senior councillor Michael Michael has warned people to expect delays.

"Cardiff council are working closely with Ikea, the organisers of the Wales Rally GB and with transport partners to ensure traffic flows through the city as smooth as possible, " he said.

"Routes into the site are likely to be busy, especially around the Ferry Road junction of the A4232, and we would encourage residents and visitors to the city to plan their journeys carefully and to allow plenty of time to reach their destinations.

"And if they are visiting the city centre to think carefully about where they intend to park," he added.

Rally car
Thousands are expected to watch the first stages of the rally

The Ikea store, in Cardiff Bay Industrial Estate, has 1,200 space car park, but it is expected that all spaces will be filled early on in its 12-hour opening day and the weekend following.

Three stages of the rally are due to be held at the Wales Rally GB arena in Cardiff Bay.

A spokeswoman for the Swedish furniture giant said that a number of initiatives were being discussed to help ease congestion.

Home delivery

"We are having weekly meetings to try and find ways to alleviate the traffic problems including the possibility of setting up park and ride schemes," she said.

"The Ikea store has to open on this day to reach its 38-week deadline and it just happened to coincide with the Wales Rally GB event.

"But we are having weekly meetings with the council and are in regular contact with the rally people to try and ensure things go as smoothly as possible.

"It is going to be a really busy weekend and we want to try and make it as easy as we can for everyone to enjoy," she added.

She said that plans to offer free home delivery and a bus service from Cardiff Central train station were under discussion.

Her comments were echoed by Wales Rally GB's sporting and logistics manager, Claire Parker.

"We are working closely with Ikea and welcome their initiatives.

"We will be making rally spectators fully aware of any potential traffic hotspots.

"And we would say to people coming along to make sure they give themselves enough time, plan their journey and understand that there is a potential for delays," she added.

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