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Last minute holiday shoppers flock to the Grape Road area

MISHAWAKA, Ind. -- The clock is ticking on holiday gift buying and thousands are flocking to Mishawaka's Grape Road to do some last minute shopping! ABC57 found a steady stream of traffic from both directions pulling into University Park Mall for most of the day and night.


Surprisingly Mishawaka Police reported only a few minor traffic accidents over the past few days on Grape Road. However with all the congestion Lt. Tim Williams cautioned motorists to pay attention when traveling on the road that is notorious for fender benders this time of the year.


Williams said, "We know the traffic is going to be backed up so you are going to really have to work hard on your patience. You are going to get stuck in long lines as you would in the store, so you are going to have to drive with that in mind."


Williams suggests if you don't make the light because it turns yellow or red as you are approaching, just stay put. Don't try to make it anyway and squeeze in behind traffic.


"Here at University Park Drive we know it's a bottle neck trying to get in there. We just want you to stay put, out of the intersection until it's your turn to turn in there," he said.


If you are caught in the middle of the intersection blocking traffic that has the right of way Lt. Williams said it's more than a ticket offense, it's a misdemeanor that could go to jail for right then and there.


Randy Wagers who was pulling into Best Buy said, "It's a mess and people don't use turn signals either."


Simon Martin who was riding in the front seat of his mom's car said, "There's traffic where ever we go." 


Mildred Sanchez of Goshen said she took the back way in from Goshen but she still said, "It's really terrible." 


"We were up here yesterday too and we did come the other way (Grape Road) and it took us forever," said Renee Zellinger.


She said today she outsmarted the traffic and came in another route. She's got some advice she wants to share.


"Take your time, slow down a little bit, quit trying to be in such a rush because you are going to hit somebody." 


Randy Wagers advice is, "Don't go on Grape Road if you can avoid it." 


One motorist on Grape Road from the south side of South Bend was optimistic he said, "It has been pleasant weather for this last weekend," said Scott Cunninghan who was heading into T.J. Maxx. 


Mishawaka Police expect the Grape Road area to be just as congested Monday.


University Park Mall closes Sunday night at 11pm. Macy's however is open until midnight. Christmas Eve the mall is open from 7 a.m.-6p.m.  


Christmas Day the mall is closed, but the day after Lt. Williams said will likely be just as congested because of all the returns or exchanges. 

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