10/17/2014 09:04 EDT | Updated 12/17/2014 05:59 EST

Tanger Outlets opening causes Highway 417 traffic issues

Police, shoppers and Ottawa’s mayor say traffic could become an ongoing issue as curious, eager shoppers visit the new Tanger Outlets mall in Kanata.

The complex held its official opening on Friday, boasting a variety of stores such as Coach, Nike and Brooks Brothers across Highway 417 from the Canadian Tire Centre.

The resulting logjam on that highway delayed shoppers and commuters alike as westbound traffic slowed down to a walker’s pace, even causing Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson to be nearly an hour late for his appearance.

“I came from Aylmer, it was quarter to eight, it took me an hour and a half to get here to tell me that the parking was full,” said Lorraine Dupel.

“If traffic is going to continue to like this, people are not going to want to go and they’ll just go right back to Bayshore (Shopping Centre) or downtown,” said another shopper-to-be.

However, once people arrived at the complex the reviews were more positive.

“I thought they would have the same price as the U.S.. I always go to those outlets and they do,” Dupel said.

Highway 417 expansion nearly done

Later on in the day, Watson said that he wants to get the nearly-complete Highway 417 expansion open to traffic as soon as possible to help people getting to the area, including Tanger and the Canadian Tire Centre.

“I’m frustrated by it and I just want to find out directly from the minister why this project seems to be taking so long,” he said.

“I know it’s a big project but it seems like almost all of the work is done.”

In the meantime, police and the city are asking drivers to avoid the area if possible Saturday, including taking public transit to the shops and the Senators home game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at 7 p.m.

There is a shuttle bus from the Canadian Tire Centre to Tanger Outlets on non-game days.

Shoppers and people going to events at the Canadian Tire Centre are asked not to walk across the Highway 417 overpass from one location to the other for safety reasons.