With an estimated 20,000 people set to descend on Prince George’s County’s newest retail attraction — Tanger Outlets at National Harbor — for its grand opening Friday, residents should expect delays despite efforts to mitigate traffic.
Tanger Outlets will open at 9 a.m. Friday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m.
Mall representatives are anticipating a large turnout of guests and customers, which will likely fill up the center’s 4,000-plus available parking spaces and ancillary parking areas, said Christi Wallace, the center’s general manager.
The mall is opening with about 99 percent of its high-end retail stores such as Calvin Klein and Coach leased, Wallace said. “We generate a lot of excitement, so we know that is going to bring a lot of traffic,” Wallace said.
Wallace said Tanger has been working with Gameday Parking Management and Prince George’s County Police Department to prepare for Friday’s parking and traffic situation.
County police will be directing cars while county Department of Public Works and Transportation members will be monitoring traffic signals and will post signs advising through traffic to avoid Oxon Hill Road, said DPWT spokeswoman Carol Terry.
Joyce Thorpe of Fort Washington said Tanger’s location on Oxon Hill Road will create disastrous traffic even with management efforts. Oxon Hill Road goes from three lanes in both direction to two lanes, one in each direction, and that’s going to cause problems, she said.
“Traffic is going to be horrendous,” Thorpe said. “It is not a good location to attract that many people.”
County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) said that while traffic has been a concern for the county, he is pleased to know that people from Virginia, D.C. and other parts of Maryland will be coming to Prince George’s County for high-end retail, something the county has desired for some time.
“We are going to have thousands of people looking to shop and be entertained,” Baker said.
If traffic does backup, the area around the Tanger location will be stocked with some portable cameras to monitor traffic flow in case cars back up to Interstate 95, prompting the need for adjustments by the Maryland State Highway Administration, said SHA spokesman David Buck.
“We are certainly aware of that weekend,” Buck said. “If it is only parking that becomes overwhelmed, that’s an issue for National Harbor.”
Tanger’s opening is occurring about a year after construction started.
Each store is having its own separate sales and Tanger is offering a coupon on its website as part of the event, Wallace said.