Shoppers can bargain on heavy traffic at Nebraska Crossing Outlets, but officials are ready -
Published Thursday, November 14, 2013 at 12:00 am / Updated at 9:17 am
Shoppers can bargain on heavy traffic at Nebraska Crossing Outlets, but officials are ready

Photos: Nebraska Crossing's transformation
More: See the full list of Nebraska Crossing stores and eateries
Shop: Win a $1,000 Nebraska Crossing shopping spree. Sign up here

* * * *

If there's one thing eager shoppers can expect when the Nebraska Crossing Outlets mall opens Friday, it's the potential for roadways cramped with traffic.

It won't ease up soon, with other events set to send drivers on roads near the shopping center at Interstate 80 and U.S. Highways 6 and 31.

Law enforcement's advice for drivers?

“Don't get too excited, and realize the sales are going to be there for a long time,” said Lt. Randy Furby of the Sarpy County Sheriff's Office.

To help, the Sheriff's Office will have a handful of extra vehicles patrolling the area Friday. Based on its opening day, law enforcement will decide how to monitor the area in the future.

The Nebraska Department of Roads is estimating a 70 percent increase in traffic along Highway 31 near the mall because of the new shopping center. Last year, the area typically saw 9,156 vehicles per day, but that is projected to rise beyond 15,500 vehicles.

The mall's grand opening and holiday shopping season are expected to bring even greater amounts of traffic. Two days coming up could be especially busy.

On Saturday, the Huskers play the Michigan State Spartans at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln.

Less than two weeks later, on Nov. 29, they play at home again, this time against the Iowa Hawkeyes. That's also Black Friday.

“Black Friday is the big shopping day, and a lot of people will drive in from Iowa for the game, which will add to Nebraska fans,” Furby said. “This is kind of new for us.”

But Furby anticipates peak Black Friday traffic will come long before football fans head toward Lincoln because the mall opens Thursday night.

“Friday will tell us a little bit of what we'll have to do on Black Friday,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Nebraska Department of Roads is urging drivers to take note of roadway changes from the original design of Nebraska Crossing, which opened 20 years ago.

Brand new is the mall's main entrance at Nebraska Crossing Drive and Highway 6 and 31, an intersection that has a traffic signal.

The hope is that most drivers will use that intersection “for less confusion and for ease of congestion,” said Tim Weander, the Roads Department's district engineer for the Omaha area.

The mall's second access point is Melia Road and Highway 31, which was the primary access point when the original mall opened. It has since been reconstructed.

Drivers who access the mall by way of Melia Road will pass by the Sinclair station, Super 8 and McDonald's and through a roundabout before getting to the mall's parking lot.

That intersection, which does not have a traffic signal, will allow for northbound traffic to take a right into the mall, southbound traffic to take a left into the mall and westbound traffic to take a right to exit the mall.

It won't allow for access to I-80.

That means all exiting mall traffic bound for the interstate should use, and will be directed to, the new Nebraska Crossing Drive intersection, the Roads Department said.

Also new since the original mall's opening is a widened Interstate 80, where message boards will go up ahead of the exit to the mall, Weander said.

The Nebraska State Patrol will activate those as needed to alert drivers of congestion. The boards will be in place for the mall's opening weekend and maybe through Black Friday, Weander said.

“It might even go all the way into Christmas,” he said. “We just have to wait and see.”

The roadway improvements should help avoid the traffic problems — including vehicles stacking up at the interstate exit — that happened when the original mall opened, Gretna city engineer Steve Perry said. The City of Gretna was responsible for several mall-related public works projects.

Perry said drivers will find the new setup “fairly easy” to get around.

Weander and Furby agreed. The mall's property manager, Kelly Calderone, suggested customers carpool if they have friends and family also planning to visit the mall.

Said Furby, “Everybody will get in and everybody will get their shopping done. We're expecting big crowds, but the mall, they'll have plenty of products.”

Contact the writer: Emily Nohr    |   402-444-1192    |  

Emily covers Papillion, La Vista, Gretna and Springfield, as well as metro-area roads.

Despite ‘bag lady’ fears, women leery of investing
The Record: Commercial real estate transfers, April 21
The Record: Bankruptcies, April 21
Don’t be in a hurry to toss those tax papers
MarksJarvis: Don’t put all the pennies in the kids’ college piggy bank
11:30 a.m. Tuesday: Warren Watch chat
Tilly's racing to make 50 hats before the polo match
Curious about government salaries? Look no further
Tuna brand plans Omaha stop and donation
UNL report casts doubt on use of corn-crop leftovers for ethanol
Thriving Nebraska technology company says it's 'the nature of our society' to automate jobs
Why two hotshots ditched six-figure salaries for a life of less
Warren Watch: Howard Buffett's foundation gives $1 million for award honoring spirited journalist
Rocket Man: The otherworldly ambitions of engineer, entrepreneur and philanthropist Elon Musk
Your Office Coach: Stop picking up the slack for the slacker on your team
Technology review: Fire TV needs work to reach potential
Chobani to expand beyond Greek yogurt
For junior bankers, a day off doesn’t shrink workload
Cab ride to airport (or anywhere in Omaha) could soon cost more
Vets can compete for start-up cash
Coming to Omaha: fun-focused sports league where every kids gets a trophy, parents promise to keep cool
Beals: Boy offers lessons of service, simplicity
Recalled frozen pasta product has tie to Omaha
Business digest: Lululemon shareholder suit dismissed
Suit challenges a Hollywood pillar: unpaid internships
Deadline Deal thumbnail
Meridian Med Spa
50% Off Botox®, Botox® Bridal Party, Fillers and Peels
Buy Now
< >
Inside Business
To submit an announcement for "Inside Business", click here. For questions call (402) 444-1371 or e-mail
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »