SIMPSONVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – Two hours after opening Sunday, the parking lot at the Bluegrass Shoppes was about three quarters full.
At noon, increased police from three different agencies were directing traffic in and around the new outlet mall’s parking lot and interstate. Traffic was flowing smoothly but nothing like the nightmare experienced the day before.
“When we left yesterday afternoon, we went the interstate and coming westbound it was three lanes backed up two miles, three miles maybe,” resident Jerry Gribbins said.
Jerry Gribbins and his family live on 9 acres, a stone’s throw from the Simpsonville mall. The Gribbins and other residents along with law enforcement tell us in the 11 days the Bluegrass Shoppes have been open, traffic during the week isn’t bad but the weekends are a different story.
Saturday’s hours-long back up was so bad, according to police, they had to temporarily close traffic in some directions and shut down I-64 exits to the mall.
“What was really bad for the people who live around here, coming off the ramp you couldn’t turn go to your house, you had to go the opposite way and go to the flea market parking lot. If you lived over here you had to go over there and turn around and comeback and go straight through,” Gribbins said.
Law enforcement reinforcements were called out Sunday in preparation for a repeat of the congestion. They blamed a combination of lack of onsite mall parking and soggy conditions limiting alternate parking.
Gribbins says he’s turned to back roads to avoid the back-ups but has faith traffic will die down as the newness wears off.
“You just gotta be patient.”
A representative for the Bluegrass Shoppes also said they expect traffic to improve by next weekend, with back to school shopping and the PGA championship done.
They also noted the Kentucky State Fair starts up the same weekend and may keep the mall traffic heavy.