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Woodbury Commons Outlet

Woodbury Commons Outlet - The first of the 220 stores opens at 9 p.m. Thursday and the last at 7 a.m. Friday.

As this retail version of Rolling Thunder plays out, the chief estimates Woodbury Common's 6,000-car parking lot will turn over at least six times — and that doesn't count the thousands of shoppers who've tumbled to the outlet center's free off-site parking and shuttle bus.

"We've taken all the tasks and broken them down and assigned them," Kwiatkowski said. "We've developed policies on everything. We've devised checklists for everything. And I think we've got it as good as it's going to get, given the roads we have to work with."

Inside the shopping center, traffic control is the responsibility of Woodbury Common, and crime control — shoplifters, credit-card scammers, purse snatchers, parking-lot sluggers — is the responsibility of Woodbury police and sheriff's deputies.

Outside the shopping center, traffic control is the responsibility of state police.

"People don't complain about waiting to get in," the chief said. "Only about waiting to get out, when they're tired, when they're broke. So the goal is to always keep them moving, even if it's only one, two, three feet a minute."

As the waves crest, state police override the traffic lights on Route 32 and push as many as 1,900 cars an hour out of the shopping center — and 90 percent of them onto the Thruway. The DOT chronicles the ebb and flow on variable message signs — "Expect Delays," "Heavy Delays," "Consider Alt. Rte." — as far as 50 miles away.

"We had to go regional with the signs after we had four lanes on the Thruway back up 16 miles to Jersey," said the chief of the Woodbury police and the World's Biggest Traffic Jam.

"And, yes, I know the Thruway only has three lanes, but they used the shoulder."

Woodbury Commons Outlet

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