AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – Amherst police are warning drivers to expect heavy traffic all weekend because of the UMass graduation this weekend. Traffic will be especially heavy this along Route 9 between Hadley and Amherst, between UMass graduations beginning on Friday, Mother’s Day, and students moving out.
22News found two alternate routes for you to take if you’re looking to avoid Route 9 this weekend. 1. Off I-91, take a right onto Bay Road, and turn left on Route 116 into downtown Amherst. 2. Or, take Route 9 and make a left on Middle Street in Hadley, then a right on Rocky Hill Road toward campus.
Long-time Hadley resident Patricia is no stranger to the annual chaotic traffic. “If you live here long enough,” says says, “you know where to avoid going if possible, or circling around or going a little further out of your way just to avoid the traffic.”
UMass spokesperson Ed Blaguszewski told 22News about 25,000 people are expected to attend commencement weekend, similar to last year. UMass Amherst junior Miranda Eiben remembers it well, saying, “I remember last year, I actually had to leave pretty much at the last possible moment for undergraduates, and that was kinda crazy.”
Whatever route you take, UMass police urge you to take it slow, giving enough room between you and the car ahead. Tack on at least 10 to 15 minutes to your commute. Be mindful of any cars pulling out of businesses along Route 9.
While navigating, minimize distractions. Use talking GPS to avoid glancing away from the road.
Click here for the UMass Commencement page to help you navigate to and from Amherst, under the “Plan your travels” section.