WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM)--Large crowds are returning to western Mass. for the Big E, which begins this Friday. Western Mass News is getting answers on how officials are prepping to get you in and out of the fair as smoothly as possible.
We spoke with West Springfield police Sergeant Joseph LaFrance who told us a renovated bridge to the west will help. He identified the traffic hot spots that you should avoid to spend more time in the fair and less time in your car.
“The schedule is set, we have plenty of officers working the details...I mean it is all hands on deck,” said Sgt. LaFrance.
Sgt. LaFrance is ready for another year at the big E fair. His department is utilizing officers on motorcycles and bicycles to help traffic flow.
One Easthampton resident told Western Mass News he’s leaning on friends nearby.
“Find a friend in Agawam, park there and carpool over,“ said William Womeldorf of Easthampton.
While others are staying away from the area altogether,
“Generally I try to avoid the south end of town during the Big e and go offbeat,” said Barbara Gardner of West Springfield.
Big E President and CEO Gene Cassidy said they’ll rely on the community for parking help.
“There’s an abundance of parking that we have and of course the community of West Springfield residence provide a great deal of overflow parking,” said Cassidy.
Sgt. LaFrance added that the newly renovated Morgan-Sullivan bridge will help both vehicle and foot traffic.
“They’ve added quite a few pedestrian crosswalks and extra turning lanes over there at that bridge so that should help,” said LaFrance.
He identified Connecticut day and the middle weekend as the “hot spots” to avoid. As for when to arrive and leave the fairgrounds?
“Get in early and probably get out before 3:00, 4:00,” said LaFrance.
Lafrance told Western Mass News to keep in mind they’ll be ready- but says residents should be patient with over 150,000 expected some days.
“We’re essentially holding two and a half Patriots games in one day, and the roads really aren’t designed for that volume of traffic so we’re doing the best we can,” explained LaFrance.
The fair opens up Sept. 17 and big crowds are expected as Machine Gun Kelly is set to perform that evening.