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Traffic chaos at Tsawwassen Mills parking lot leaves drivers stranded

WATCH: Metro Vancouver’s newest shopping center Tsawwassen Mills opened last week. Traffic gridlock has been reported every day, some complaining of being stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic for hours. Ted Chernecki reports on the factors adding up to a lot of frustration.

Many visitors to the Tsawwassen Mills Mall were left sitting in their cars and fuming after getting stuck in the parking lot this long weekend.

Driving in and out of the new 1.2-million-square-foot shopping centre – which opened for business earlier this week – proved to be a challenge Saturday with some motorists saying it took them more than three hours just to get out of the parking lot.

WATCH: Tsawwassen Mills mega-mall opening raises traffic concerns

One traffic control flagger who spoke to Global News referred to Saturday’s parking situation as a “gong show.”

“It was like a parking lot from hell,” she said.

She said her fellow flaggers were dealing with shoppers who weren’t willing to wait.

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“People were getting mad, they were aggravated, they couldn’t find their way out, they didn’t know where the exits were. People were missing ferries, people were missing flights.”

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Insp. Debra McLeod of the Delta Police Patrol Division said the main reason for the parking logjam was high traffic volume. Mall management said more than 50,000 shoppers came through on Saturday.

Some on social media, however, complained that parking lot access points were blocked off.

McLeod said what appeared to be closed access points were simply attempts to divert vehicles to improve traffic flow.

“We want to keep the traffic flowing in case we do have an emergency where we have to get personnel in,” McLeod said. “They did eventually divert some of it so we were having the traffic flow out instead of coming back in through some of those access points. It’s more about diverting the traffic and getting the flow of the traffic back out.”

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McLeod said there were additional flaggers in the parking lot on Sunday.

– With files from Nadia Stewart

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