Bridge between Holyoke and South Hadley closed for inaugural event

22News had no problem getting rave reviews for this festival

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Thousands of people covered some common ground on Sunday, when they spent part of their day being neighborly on the Veterans Memorial Bridge linking Holyoke with South Hadley.

It’s never happened before, Mass DOT permitted the temporary closing of the Route 116 bridge over the Connecticut River from 11:00 Sunday morning until 3:00 in the afternoon for the inaugural River Roll and Stroll festival.

The organizers billed the event as a vehicle-free Sunday celebration. There was no shortage of music to entertain the crowd that strolled across the bridge – music of all sorts during this inaugural occasion.

22News had no problem getting rave reviews for this festival.

Tricia Hennessey of Holyoke told 22News, “I say great, I really do. I was surprised when I read the pamphlet, but I think it’s a very good idea for both of them.”

Allesandra Smith of Holyoke, added “I think we’re having an absolutely fantastic time because, especially Holyoke, and enjoying the activities on the bridge and enjoy the rider.”

Sunday’s event proved that when you close a bridge with picturesque views to traffic, the crowds will come.

Since driving over the bridge permits little opportunity to admire the river and the Holyoke dam a short distance away, stalling the pan between Holyoke and South Hadley offered plenty of opportunity. Visitors were already talking hopefully about making this an annual event.