CONCORD, N.C. — Concord police took over several intersections outside Concord Mills Mall Saturday evening to help with heavy traffic.
Some officers blocked the entrance/exit at Thunder Road. The city said it was to help keep traffic moving on Concord Mills Boulevard.
Channel 9 saw huge traffic problems on the main roads and in the mall parking lot.
Ishika Marshall said she was trying to leave the mall parking lot but she couldn’t find any signs directing her to the nearest exit. She said she felt stuck.
“I’ve been in traffic more than I’ve been in the store,” said Marshall.
Gina Esposito asked, “How long have you been in traffic?”
Marshall responded, “I’ve been in traffic more than an hour and half.” Marshall added “I’m upset that they blocked the exits. Why block the exits to let the traffic flow? that’s the way the traffic is flowing. It’s crazy.”
For Zeb Harrison and his son, Zaiyon, who were just trying to make a return at a store, said the hardest part was the drive into the mall from the interstate.
“It was kind of crazy. We were stuck at an intersection for about 30 minutes,” said Zaiyon.
Around 5 p.m., Channel 9 saw a line of cars on the off-ramp at I-85. There were also electronic signs dedicating three lanes to mall traffic. The city said staff is monitoring the traffic cameras to see if any changes need to be made.
A spokesperson for the city of Concord, Allyson Sigmon said, “We have several people on call. If they need to adjust the signals, they will do so.”
The city disabled traffic signals while police helped direct traffic leaving the mall.
A spokesperson for Concord Mills said, “Concord Mills has posted signage and reader boards around the property to help guide shoppers to the nearest accessible exits, in addition to added traffic cameras from Concord Department of Transportation to help assess congestion in and around the Boulevard. Local police are also providing additional traffic enforcement officers for onsite support. The shopping center’s management team is working closely with the city of Concord to ensure a positive experience and mitigated delays for our visitors.”
We saw a similar operation a few weeks ago. On Black Friday, some shoppers were stuck in traffic for five hours and nearly 20 people called 911.
It’s been a holiday shopping nightmare for many, like Harrison, who said they’ve never dealt with this before. Harrison believes the increase in population and development may be reasons for why we’re seeing more traffic this year.
“You better have some gas and have some patience. That’s the only way you can make it through,” said Harrison.
Police said they cleared their officers from the intersections around 8 p.m. when traffic started to improve. The traffic signals are back to normal.
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