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Tanger opening to add to Pooler's traffic woes

  • Tanger opening to add to Pooler's traffic woes

Like a bad pollen allergy to a clogged nasal cavity, even the most casual observers agree that Pooler Parkway’s already congested roadways are about to get even more occluded with Tanger Outlets Savannah grand opening.

Approximately 25,000 shoppers are anticipated for the opening weekend from Thursday through Sunday, likely creating traffic queues down Interstate 95 for miles, an already daily occurrence during peak hours.

Gulfstream has sent an alert to its employees from the airport traffic planning committee warning of extreme delays opening weekend. Meanwhile, Facebook comments from concerned Pooler residents are a constant on the popular “It’s Cooler in Pooler” page, which posts updates and news about the bustling suburb.

“We should all take video of how long it takes for us to get anywhere anymore and send it in (to the mayor’s office) with a bag of nuts, then make them all unemployed next election,” wrote an unhappy Jerry Lane on March 29.

Pooler Chief of Police Mark Revenew, the only Pooler official who would return calls for comment on traffic issues, said his department is working closely with Tanger’s management team, who will hire several officers to help with traffic flow. Private security will also be utilized.

“We also will be deploying devices to manually override the traffic signals to customize the lights for optimum vehicle flow,” said Revenew via email. “However, the rapid and unprecedented residential and commercial growth experienced in this area, coupled with the typically busy spring traffic on I-95 is going to make this a daunting task.”

Tanger and developer Ben Carter have been working with the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, Gulfstream and the state Department of Transportation to employ both short-term and long-term solutions, especially at the interchange of exit 104 off I-95.

During an interview last week, Carter said the traffic studies they had conducted indicated Tanger traffic is likely to account for about 17 percent of all cars at that exit, while the rest comes from the airport, Gulfstream and residents.

“It’s primarily a peak-time issue,” Carter said. “But I think that the way Pooler Parkway is designed and the way the interchange is designed, they’re capable of being expanded over time.”

He said the additional ingress and egress off Pooler Parkway at Park Avenue where Publix shopping center is will also alleviate some congestion.

He said between the DOT, Gulfstream, the airport and Tanger, they’d already taken on about $1 million to widen the ramps and add turn signals and medians along the parkway. Over the next couple of years, he said, the DOT will take the expansion of the I-95 interchange to another level.

Revenew said he recommends people who normally use Pooler Parkway use alternative routes (see box below) during the grand opening.

“Like any large event we ask that people allot themselves additional time to account for the unavoidable congestion and that they use patience when traveling during these events,” he wrote.

Carter put it more succinctly.

“The moral of the story is come early, leave late,” he said.

 

THREE WAYS TO GET THERE

1) Travel I-16 W toward I-95 N. Take I-95 N to Airways Avenue and use exit 104. This will be the most congested exit.

2) Travel I-16 W toward Pooler Parkway exit 155, turn right at the light and travel north on Pooler Parkway to Tanger Outlet Boulevard.

3) Take U.S. 80 W until approaching Pooler Parkway overpass. Make left at stoplight to merge onto Pooler Parkway overpass and travel north to Tanger Outlet Boulevard.

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Breakout Box: 

THREE WAYS TO GET THERE

1) Travel I-16 W toward I-95 N. Take I-95 N to Airways Avenue and use exit 104. This will be the most congested exit.

2) Travel I-16 W toward Pooler Parkway exit 155, turn right at the light and travel north on Pooler Parkway to Tanger Outlet Boulevard.

3) Take U.S. 80 W until approaching Pooler Parkway overpass. Make left at stoplight to merge onto Pooler Parkway overpass and travel north to Tanger Outlet Boulevard.

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