HOOKSETT — Weekend traffic jams at Bass Pro Shops were an eye-opener, Police Chief Peter Bartlett said.
Bartlett said his officers acted quickly, communicating with the Bass Pro Shops management team, which agreed to foot the cost for two detail officers on Route 3A — one at the entrance to Commerce Drive and the other at the entrance to Market Basket.
“They were able to cycle the lights a little longer to actually get cars onto 3A and give them a place to go,” he said. “Moving forward, we’ll continue to work with Bass Pro Shops relative to their needs and also to avoid this type of situation occurring again.”
The officers remained until business died down around 7 p.m. Saturday and returned Sunday to prevent a repeat of Saturday’s traffic jam.
Bartlett said his department fielded more than 50 calls Saturday pertaining to traffic congestion in the area of Route 3A and Commerce Drive, the location of both Bass Pro Shops and Walmart.
“The crux of each complaint was that there was just no traffic movement,” said Bartlett, who noted even cars inside the parking lot were unable to move. “They couldn’t leave, they couldn’t come in. There was just no movement. It was literally gridlocked.”
In addition to getting in and out of the parking lot, a primary concern was making sure fire trucks and/or ambulances could respond to an emergency situation.
Bartlett said heavy traffic was anticipated for the store’s ribbon-cutting ceremony and Conservation Night last Wednesday, primarily because it took place at 6 p.m., the heart of rush hour.
“Going forward, we’ll handle this on a case-by-case basis and if we see a similar situation arising, we’ll touch base with (Bass Pro Shops) management and react appropriately,” Bartlett said.