WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Get ready for gridlock, traffic on the Memorial Ave Rotary is about get a lot more congested.
The Big E is just two weeks away, and 22News discovered the Memorial Ave. Rotary Replacement Project will be far from over.
Agawam resident Richard Michnovetez told 22News a delay is unacceptable with the Big E right around the corner. “I don’t know what their problem is, but they’ve had how many months to take of it? They should be working 24-hours a day, seven days a week to get that done before the fair starts,” he said.
The Memorial Ave Rotary is a busy route to the Big E. The fair starts September 18th, which means crews won’t be making much more progress until the Big E ends October 4th. During the Big E there won’t be any construction at the Memorial Ave. rotary. However, it will still be reduced to just a single lane.
Less than two months ago, MassDOT said construction would be finished by September 18th, but now, the project is being put on pause. A frustrating thought for many drivers, including Jim Largay of Agawam, who’ve been dealing with traffic delays for months. “It’s going to be backed up even worse. I think you’re going to have traffic backed up all through I-91 in Connecticut. You’re going to have backups up north, Route 5’s going to be backed up,” he said.
Last year, the Big E drew nearly 1,500,000 people in total; that’s a lot of drivers who will have to find a different route, or squeeze through a single lane around the rotary.
Betty Chapman who works near the Big E told 22News, she’s worried what it’ll do to other businesses in the area. “It’s going to be even slower. I do think that all of these business in this area are going to be impacted negatively,” she said.
MassDOT spokeswoman Amanda Skahan told 22News all lanes on Route 5 and Route 147 will be open to help traffic flow smoothly during the Big E.