WILMINGTON -- The crowds at Saturday's commissioning of the USS North Carolina submarine led to congestion on the roads. More than six thousand attendees parked at various locations including Independence Mall and Pine Valley Baptist Church. Police said people showed up as early as six in the morning to get a parking spot and there were plenty of spots to go around. Twenty charter buses shuttled people to and from the ceremony. Aside from having to wait to catch a bus back to the parking lots after the ceremony, police and attendees said the shuttle service was a success. Wilmington Police Sgt. Warren Kennedy said, "Believe it or not, before ten o'clock, I think we got everybody on the bus, headed towards the state port." Jim Willis from Fuquay-Varina used the shuttle service. He said, "It was very smooth this morning. I think it went smoothly this afternoon, it's just a lot more people were trying to go at the same time." A spokesperson for Independence Mall security said there were no reported problems and there were still enough parking spots for mall shoppers.
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