wrentham mall traffic 11-26-21

Shopping traffic backs up on Interstate 495 South Friday morning. This view is from the West Street bridge in Wrentham.

WRENTHAM — The drizzly weather did not deter Black Friday shoppers who preferred standing in line at the Wrentham Village Premiums Outlets to searching online for holiday deals.

Traffic volume was reported heavy on Interstate 495 and on Route 1A, where it backed up through Wrentham center at one point and over a mile into Plainville.

Police in both towns were monitoring the traffic all day and the police chiefs in both communities urged people to have patience, especially over the weekend.

“We’re doing our best to manage the traffic. The number one thing you have to come here with is patience,” Wrentham Police Chief Bill McGrath said.

There was a steady stream of traffic at 6 a.m. on Interstate 495 South at the Route 1A mall exit when the mall opened, and that quickly turned into a moderate backup of traffic in about 90 minutes.

Traffic was backed up from the ramp from I-495 North to Rt. 1A about a half mile to the Green Street overpass in Foxboro.

“We’ve seen worse. This is the first year the mall has opened at 6 a.m. It opened at six last year,” McGrath said, “but that was during the middle of COVID. It was quiet then. Now, I think people just want to get out.”

Many of the shoppers Friday were are not wearing masks, according to the chief.

McGrath said it is hard to control traffic at a time when the mall is attracting 10 to 20 times the number of parking spaces available.

Acting Plainville Police Chief Jim Floyd agreed.

“Obviously, it’s a struggle they have to deal with on an annual basis,” Floyd said. “You can only allow so many people in and get them out.”

Floyd added that this year, shoppers want to get out after being cooped up last year by the pandemic.

“I think it’s one of those things. People just want to get out,” Floyd said.

Police say they are always looking at ways to improve traffic management.

“We’re making notes for next year,” McGrath said, adding that police also want to work with traffic apps such as Waze to keep traffic out of local neighborhoods.

In Plainville, police were staffing detours at five locations starting at 5 a.m. to prevent traffic headed to the mall from clogging neighborhoods.

Traffic was reported to be heavy on Route 1 around the Emerald Square mall in North Attleboro as well as other retail stores along the highway through North Attleboro and South Attleboro.

David Linton may be reached at 508-236-0338.