WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WWLP) — Over the next 16 days, nearly 10,000 cars are expected to drive across Memorial Avenue in West Springfield to get to the Big E. That of course, can cause some problems on the road for people here in western Massachusetts.
Springfield City Councilor Kateri Walsh told 22News that as long as she plans ahead, driving usually isn’t too big of an issue. “Big E traffic, you really have to plan ahead if you have to go to an event, later today I’m going to be attending my granddaughter’s soccer game in the North End, so I have to plan to leave an hour earlier than I would have,” Walsh said.
Most drivers take I-91 to Route 5, then take the rotary to get to the Big E, which is where traffic is likely to be the heaviest. Alternate routes in which you may also expect traffic include Route 20 to the North End Bridge, and Routes 75 and 159 in Agawam.
Police officers from both West Springfield and Agawam will be on the roads to help direct drivers, the fair also hires state troopers to assist any traffic jams on Interstate 91.
Dawn Creighton of Williamsburg told 22News, “In the grand scheme of things, it’s okay. It’s the biggest fair in all of New England, to be able to have that level of people coming into the area and the tourism and the money they spend while they’re here makes the traffic ok and bearable.”
Parking is usually another concern during the Big E. The fair offers is about 580 parking spots at Gate 9, which are first come, first serve. You can also take a shuttle bus from the Holyoke Mall to the big E. Buses will run every half hour on Saturday and Sunday from 9AM to 5PM.
Construction on the Memorial Avenue rotary will be put on pause until the end of the big E, which MassDOT hopes will help reduce traffic in the area.
According to the Big E, 73,213 people were at the fair for opening day; setting a world record.