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New Costco Warehouse opens at Edmonton International Airport

WATCH ABOVE: The 100th Costco Warehouse in Canada opened Wednesday near the Edmonton International Airport. Julia Wong was at the opening and spoke with the airport's CEO and the store manager about the how they plan to deal with increased traffic.

The Costco at Edmonton International Airport opened first thing Wednesday morning and officials warned travellers to give themselves a bit more time to get the airport.

The new 154,000-square-foot warehouse opened at 8 a.m. Wednesday, becoming Costco’s 100th Canadian location. It is also the largest location in the Edmonton region, which now has seven Costco Warehouses.

READ MORE: New Costco opening in 2018 near Leduc and Edmonton International Airport

The new shopping opportunity is expected to increase traffic in the area. Airport officials anticipate extra traffic on area roads at least through the weekend.

However, the president and CEO of EIA said they’re well prepared for the influx of people and vehicles.

“With all the things we’ve had opening and are going to be opening at the airport, we’ve spent a lot of planning over the years for this,” Tom Ruth said on Wednesday morning. “There were new roadways that were put in, new access points. We worked with Alberta Transportation and the local community to make sure that we could handle the traffic.

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“We’re feeling confident that we’ll be able to handle the growth.”

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By 8 a.m., the parking lot of the new store appeared to be nearly full.

“Congestion has been okay. It’s something we planned for,” Ruth said. “The peaks and valleys will be different when you think about store hours, when they open, and passenger, when they’re coming in and out of the airport. We’ve been able to pretty well level all that out.”

“Typical peak shopping traffic usually occurs at different times of the day than peak vehicle traffic to the airport. However, during the first few days that the EIA Costco will be open, there will be additional people coming early to shop, some of whom may be finding their way around EIA for the first time,” the airport said in a media release on Tuesday.

“This could produce extra traffic volume from Aug. 22 to Aug. 26.”

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Costco warehouse manager Earle Genik said they anticipate being busy right off the bat, but expect things to settle down over the next week to week-and-a-half.

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“I think we’ve learned from our past experiences,” Genik said.

The new airport location is expected to help relieve some of the pressure from the Costco in the area of 23 Avenue and 91 Street in south Edmonton, which Genik said is the busiest location in the city.

“It’s going to allow the people from the south of Edmonton another outlet to shop at,” he said.

Edmonton Transit, Leduc Transit and EIA’s On Airport Transit will provide buses to the Costco warehouse. Additional traffic control personnel were also called in.

READ MORE: Mall madness: Shoppers sleep outside to be 1st inside outlet mall near Edmonton International Airport

The new Nisku Costco, which includes a gas station and liquor store, is located just off the QEII Highway at Airport Road. It sits north of the Premium Outlet Collection EIA mall, which opened in May.

The Nisku Costco at the Edmonton International Airport opens Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018.
The Nisku Costco at the Edmonton International Airport opens Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018. Eric Beck, Global News
The Nisku Costco at the Edmonton International Airport opens Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018.
The Nisku Costco at the Edmonton International Airport opens Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018. Eric Beck, Global News

Watch below: Chopper video of the lineup of shoppers at the Premium Outlet Collection Edmonton International Airport shopping centre on opening day.

Shoppers line up to be first inside Edmonton area outlet mall
Shoppers line up to be first inside Edmonton area outlet mall

With files from Karen Bartko, Global News.

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