Charlotte mall traffic: Rough start, then improvement

The area’s newest shopping mall opened Thursday morning, and it didn’t take long to produce traffic problems.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police reported two collisions in the 30 minutes after the 10 a.m. grand opening of Charlotte Premium Outlets, off Shopton Road in southwest Charlotte.

Conditions settled down afterward, although traffic was reported to be heavy at midday.

No injuries were reported in the two early wrecks near the new mall.

The first collision was reported about 10:15 a.m. at Shopton Road and Outlets Boulevard. That is one of the entrances to the outlet mall. Then around 10:30 a.m., CMPD was called to deal with a collision at Interstate 485 and Steele Creek Road, a short distance from the mall.

There were no additional reports of collisions near the new mall into the afternoon hours Thursday. Traffic was heavy, though, and minor delays were being reported at the I-485 interchange with Steele Creek Road.

The outlet mall, near Shopton and Dixie River roads and the I-485 interchange with Steele Creek Road, is expected to draw thousands of shoppers over the next few days.

Mall officials have arranged for shuttle buses to operate this weekend from Berewick Elementary School, Radiant Church and Shopton Square Shopping Center, if the outlet mall’s 2,000 parking spots are filled.

Parking concerns have been on the minds of residents in the area, and traffic was the main topic at a community meeting earlier this week. City transportation officials said they have tried to lessen problems by widening Dixie River Road by two lanes and by adding a traffic signal at the Dixie River Road-Shopton Road intersection.