CONCORD, N.C. — Frustrated drivers reached out to Channel 9 saying they were stuck in the parking lot at Concord Mills for up to five hours on Black Friday and about 20 people even called 911.
“It’s like a parking lot. I mean, terrible," said Kater Corwell.
Corwell told Channel 9 he was only able to move a few yards in four hours while trying to leave the mall.
Concord City officials said the parking lot was over capacity and that spilled out to the streets, causing the huge traffic mess. Police said the area was so overcrowded they had to shut down three entrances to the mall to help people get out of the parking lot, which caused some confusion and 911 calls.
“I left the mall at 4 p.m., and right now, it’s 7:42 p.m.," he said. “I have not got no farther than three blocks on the same street behind the mall."
One driver who was stuck decided to drive over a median to get around the traffic.
Concord Mills police received several requests to alleviate traffic.
Police said they were unable to shut down access to busy areas because the mall is private property. They said they worked for hours to get traffic cleared out.
In June, Concord opened a $1.9 million traffic center to help prevent traffic nightmares. After Black Friday's mess, residents are now wondering if that money was well spent.
The city of Concord said in a statement that it will continue to work with Concord Mills and other partners to explore options for improvements in the future.
"Give them the benefit of the doubt. This is a learning experience for them," Cornwell said.
Statement from Concord Mills:
"We recognize the increased traffic on the boulevard due to the shopping season for Concord Mills and other local businesses and retailers. The City of Concord Department of Transportation has the ability to regulate the signals on the adjacent roads from their Command Center to help flow of traffic through the major corridors, however, this year’s Black Friday proved to be one of our busiest yet."
"We worked closely and swiftly with the Concord Police Department and the Concord Traffic Management Center to put solutions in place – which helped alleviate traffic delays for the remainder of last weekend, and we are continuing our collaboration with both organizations to keep parking and traffic running smoothly for the remaining of the holiday season."
© 2020 Cox Media Group