Hard Rock reveals traffic plans - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Hard Rock reveals traffic plans

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Many Western Mass residents are familiar with the sight of miles of traffic in September lining Memorial Avenue as families come to West Springfield for a day at the Big E.

But at a presentation Wednesday night, Hard Rock reps say their plans will increase traffic efficiency by as little as 30 percent and as much as much as 50 percent.

"All the traffic studies show that the additional infrastructure improvements will create no additional strain on the roadways here in connection with the Hard Rock project," said CEO of Hard Rock Jim Allen.

Hard Rock reps unveiled their traffic and infrastructure plans in front of West Springfield casino commissioners and residents.

Among their plans:

  • Adding a fifth turning lane to the center of Memorial Avenue.
  • Building a new interchange off of Route 5 for direct access to their grounds.
  • Improving the Memorial Bridge rotary.

"We're committing to at least $35 million to enhance the infrastructure and roadways in West Springfield," Allen said.

Casino commissioners say they were relieved to see detailed plans but more still needs to be figured out.

"They're on their way, some of the commissioners addressed other concerns relative to other different gateways into the city. Hopefully they'll address those, like further up Route 5 North and Route 20," said Chairman of the West Springfield Casino Commission Edward Sullivan.

To put the traffic into perspective for residents, Hard Rock reps say that during the peak of the Big E, the town sees more than 46,000 cars a day, while they expect an average of just more than 7,500 a day to their proposed casino.

Still residents like Irene Cavanaugh remain skeptical.

"It doesn't matter what we do or what we say, they're going to do it anyway," she said.

Hard Rock reps say they are still working out whether parking would be free or charged.

They will be running a public forum on April 24 to talk more about their plans.

They're competing against MGM and Penn National in Springfield and Mohegan Sun in Palmer for the sole casino license slated for Western Mass.

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