Amherst College, UMass commencements to bring heavy traffic to area roadways
AMHERST, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Thousands of people will descend upon western Massachusetts this weekend for commencement ceremonies at UMass Amherst and Amherst College and officials are warning drivers to prepare for busy roads and crowds.
With the UMass Amherst commencement on Friday and Amherst College’s on Sunday, the town of Amherst will be packed.
“We’re expecting, as usual, a packed stadium at McGuirk. We will probably have 25,000 thousand people in the stands and on the floor of the stadium…In 2023, we have about 7,500 undergraduates and about 2,500 graduate students,” said UMass Amherst spokesperson Ed Blaguszewski.
Jim Neal from Northampton told Western Mass News that graduation traffic woes are nothing new to him.
“It’s a busy weekend. There’s a lot of construction going on. People always complain about the fact that it’s ill-timed. It seems like that never ends and Route 9 is always jammed up. I tend to walk as much as possible,” Neal noted.
UMass Amherst’s commencement is set for Friday, May 26 at 9 a.m. at McGuirk Alumni Stadium where a bulk of the ceremonies are being held. UMass will be holding another ceremony on Saturday, May 27 at 11 a.m. for the Stockbridge School of Agriculture.
On Sunday, May 28, Amherst College will have its commencement starting at 10 a.m. at the main quadrangle.
The town of Amherst has already listed road closures in the area. North Pleasant Street will be closed through the weekend between Massachusetts Avenue and Governors Drive from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and University Drive will be closed from Massachusetts Avenue and Amity Street from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Blaguszewski added that people heading to both graduations should get ready early and plan their route ahead of time to deal with this weekend’s traffic woes.
“Plan ahead as best you can. This year, the event starts at 9 a.m. on Friday, so we’re really encouraging people to get here if they can a couple of hours early,” Blaguszewski explained.
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