Knoxville (WVLT) - For some drivers the best part of Black Friday was outside.
Traffic is pretty clear right now behind me, and shoppers we talked to say this is by far the best Black Friday they've driven around in a long time, and they're thanking TDOT for it.
The mall is filled with bargain hunters, the parking lot packed with cars, but how was the trip getting here on this Black Friday?
"I thought it was better. I felt like traffic circulating was better and people were coming and going a lot faster," says Allison Sheffey.
"A lot easier," Debbie Harper agrees.
"It was pretty nice, wasn't that bad," says Gary Curtis.
Nice isn't exactly the way drivers described traffic around the mall this time last year.
"Oh, it was awful because they were working on the exit, too, and so it made it hard to get on and off," says Debbie.
"You had everything in the world under construction then, so the traffic was terrible," says Gary.
"Getting off the interstate, I remember last year waiting thirty minutes on the ramp," adds Allison.
But drivers say that thirty minutes turned into about ten today, thanks to three new lanes open on each direction of Kingston Pike, plus clearly marked turning lanes to get into the mall.
Drivers are actually driving to the mall instead of sitting in traffic, cutting down on some road rage.
"Everyone's high stress anyways cause they want to get to the stores early and get the good deals, so getting there faster made it a lot easier," Allison says.
"It makes it a lot more enjoyable when you don't have to worry about driving down and trying to get into the mall," says Gary.
As shoppers quickly make their way through Kingston Pike, they say they're thankful TDOT's done so much.
"They're on top of it. They're doing a good job. We either gotta have good roads or bad roads," Gary says.
And bad traffic on one of the busiest shopping days of the year can make or break some shoppers.
"Whether we come here or not depends on if we can get in easier," says Debbie.
But for others, "I don't pay any attention. We just want to shop, shop, shop," says Kim Becker with a laugh.
And if you thought traffic was good today, it should be even better when shopping picks up again near Christmas Day.
TDOT says they're still on schedule to have their entire project complete by the end of December.
And that's important for those last-minute shoppers, but I'm sure you guys have all your shopping done already, right?