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Whole Foods added to busy Smith Haven fold

Howard Tobar, who works in the Whole Foods

Howard Tobar, who works in the Whole Foods store in TriBeCa, lends a hand in setting up the fresh fruit display at the new store in Lake Grove. Whole Foods is opening its third Long Island location, which is also its first in Suffolk County. (March 15, 2010) Photo Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Anyone driving along Route 347 near the Smith Haven Mall knows traffic can get rather dicey, and for good reason.

The area has a lot of great shopping options that surround the mall, and Whole Foods is the newest member of the pack. The new upscale market is Whole Food's first Suffolk location, and it's just down the block from a Trader Joe's, another alternative to mainstay grocers.

But with growth comes consequences: no doubt a bump in traffic volume and the risks that come with it.

The road has been widened near the area, but it quickly funnels back to two lanes just after Hallock Road. This creates a lot of late merging and short stopping at that busy intersection.

There's long been talk of turning 347 into a more formal highway. It's a massive project and expense (and probably years-long inconvenience on the traffic pattern).

In the meantime, the question is whether the area is growing faster than the infrastructure can handle it. Thoughts?

PHOTOS: Whole Foods finds its way to Suffolk

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