NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) – The Norfolk Premium Outlets is just days away from opening its doors! While some people are excited to shop, others are dreading the expected traffic headaches.
The mall is off Northampton Boulevard, next to the Norfolk International Airport and right of interstate 64.
Community member Steven Lachut said, "It’s going to create a big traffic jam out here."
People say Northampton Boulevard is full of red lights and congestion. Those who live near the new outlets are worried about bumper-to-bumper traffic.
"We already have a traffic problem," said Lachut. "When everyone is trying to get on to the interstate to either Richmond or the beach."
The outlets' grand opening will be on Thursday. Thousands of people are expected to attend.
"The interstate's ramp is literally next to the outlet," said resident Ryian Claud. "That's like even worse. People are trying to get on the interstate, while trying to turn into the outlets at the same time."
The City of Norfolk continues to improve traffic flow on Northampton Boulevard. Officials say they don't expect morning rush-hour to be affected, because the outlets don't open until 10 a.m. From timing lights, new signing and making extra turn lanes, they're hoping it helps drivers.
- For shoppers coming from the I-64 westbound off-ramp at Northampton Boulevard, the City of Norfolk says you should come straight down the ramp to the traffic signal. From there, turn right to access the dedicated left turn lane for Premium Outlets Boulevard.
- The city is working with the contractor as signal improvements from as recently as last week have been made at the intersection of Northampton and Wesleyan Drive. These improvements were designed and coordinated with the neighboring city to make this intersection safer and more efficient.
- New signal timings have been developed in order to maximize this busy intersection and to accommodate pedestrians with the upmost safety in mind.
- New asphalt and new pavement markings have just been completed that will assist with the movement of vehicles through the intersection and to the New Outlet. New signage specifically for the Norfolk Premium Outlets has been designed and is being installed as we speak to assist with getting the traveling motorists to their destination safely.
- A new VDOT project has been awarded and will be getting underway very soon that will also add some major improvements to this very busy interchange with I-64 at Northampton. This ramp improvement project will improve the movements and safety for the I-64 WB exit ramp to Northampton Blvd that will assist traffic getting to Northampton Blvd, Wesleyan Drive, and the New Premium Outlets and to the points east along Northampton Blvd.
This project will also modify and establish a new signal and movement off of the I-64 EB ramp so that you will be able to go east or west onto Northampton Blvd.This project has a very aggressive schedule and is one of the first Smart Scale projects to get under construction in the region. It is expected to be completed by next year.
Lachut says regardless of the changes, there is still going to be problems.
"Bring it on, I’m going the other way," Lachut explained.
Officials tell 13News Now that Virginia State Police, Virginia Beach Police and Norfolk Police will be helping with traffic flow on Northampton Boulevard for the first several weeks of the outlet mall's opening.