Costco opens in East Pasco adding to traffic concerns

Shoppers line up for grand opening
Posted at 4:22 PM, Feb 08, 2017

Costco is finally open for business in East Pasco County.

“I’ve got it marked on my calendar at home, so I wouldn’t miss it,” said shopper Mary Jo Massey.

“It’s busy busy but it’s fun,” said shopper Karen Gordon.

Hundreds of shoppers battled for parking spots.

“It is very much a madhouse,” said shopper Susan Bird.

And they searched for shopping carts.

“Everybody’s nice and nobody’s running anybody over or being rude. So that’s a good thing,” said Gordon.

Then they went looking for bargains in bulk.

“We came,we shopped, we left.” said Bird.

But getting here and leaving won’t always be so easy.

Traffic issues are already a problem around Wesley Chapel as the area grows.

The back-up is especially bad in the afternoons as drivers getting off North I-75 try and exit at State Road 56.

You’ve got rush hour commuters combined with all shoppers coming to the outlets and now Costco.

“Its a situation where we want the shopping process to be as easy as possible and we never want a traffic situation to deter people from visiting us,” said Costco General Manager Rosina Yeo.

A fix could be coming.

Work on a new more efficient design for the exit known as a Diverging Diamond Exchange is slated to start next year.

Although that construction could cause more headaches.

For long time Pasco residents all of this growth is a big change from the way it used to be.

“Back 10-15 years ago it was a two lane all the way out here. Now it's three lanes and it's still crowded but they are building so much stuff out here it's going to be that way,” said shopper Maynard Massey.

While more traffic may be coming. More jobs are too.

This Costco has 204 employees and will add more if needed in the weeks to come.