LDS Temple attracts 350K visitors - WFSB 3 Connecticut

LDS Temple attracts 350K visitors

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LDS Temple opens on Sat. Jan. 18 LDS Temple opens on Sat. Jan. 18
GILBERT, AZ (CBS5) -

It is now the tallest building in Gilbert and for the next three weeks, it will be one of the biggest attractions in the Valley of the Sun.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints will open its newly-built temple to the public until Feb. 15 before closing its doors to certain members only.

Already, Elder Todd Hansen says 350,000 people have reserved a tour through the temple.

"So many people have expressed an interest," Hansen said. "It's hard to anticipate how many people will want to go through the temple but we're prepared and excited to have them all come."

Dick Meyer, who lives down the street from the 85,000-square-foot building, reserved his tickets to get a sneak peek.

"We're going next week through the temple," Meyer said. "We're going to have a lot of people come by."

The area, surrounded by farmland, will see thousands of visitors nearly every day for the next month. The town of Gilbert is changing the timing of nearby traffic lights and assigning extra officers to the area in preparation of the temple's grand opening.

"With all the traffic, I'm sure it's going to be a zoo," Meyer said.

A road sign set up on Greenfield Road also warns drivers of the possibility of increased traffic in the area but church officials don't think parking or traffic will be an issue.

"Our visitors will come in waves and we'll be able to accommodate smoothly all those who want to come and experience the temple," Hansen said.

The town, however, will be cautious with traffic and parking. Since the area is mostly farmland, Gilbert's traffic department is expecting a busier than usual month ahead.

For more on this story and other stories around Arizona from this author, follow Shawn Kline on Facebook and Twitter.

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