WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- The Big E opens in just eight days and officials are preparing for the big crowds and the big traffic concerns this year with the ongoing construction on the Morgan-Sullivan Bridge.
"We are trying to work to make it less intrusive for people, for people coming and going to the fair," said Agawam Mayor William Sapelli.
The Big E always comes with big fun and big traffic, but this year, traffic concerns are especially high.
With the Morgan-Sullivan Bridge between Agawam and West Springfield under construction to fix structural deficiencies, the Western Mass News SkyDrone showed how only one lane is open each way.
We're told police and safety officials will be on-scene to help with traffic, but there will be no construction on top of the Morgan-Sullivan Bridge for the 17 days of The Big E.
With traffic concerns continuing to grow as the fair gets closer, officials are working to give people opportunities to avoid the parking and congestion nightmares.
King Ward will be giving people rides to the fair from the Enfield Mall and Holyoke Community College for $20, which gets you a ticket to enter the fair and the bus ride.
"I would suggest strongly anyone who can park and ride, take advantage of that and it's a great deal anyway and you don't have to worry about it. You just jump on that bus and head here," Sapelli added.
The bus can also pick you up from your home if you live in the greater Springfield area for the same price.
If you're looking to catch a free shuttle ride you can head to MGM Springfield where buses will be leaving daily on an hourly basis.
Or head over to Springfield's Union Station where free shuttles run on Saturdays and Sundays, and Connecticut Day, Sept. 18 from Gate 24.
In addition to the new transportation options, officials are encouraging people to carpool, take advantage of their bicycle parking, and consider walking a ways to get into the fair.
Officials aren't sure exactly how bad they expect traffic to be, but they do know that the more people coming through, the better.
"The worse traffic is the more people that are here. That means the fair is doing well. Traffic, while a bad thing, can mean good things are happening in the community," said West Springfield Mayor William Reichelt.
In addition to the new transportation policies, another big change is coming to The Big E. Metal detectors will be used at the entrances as a new safety precaution.
"The gusts need to be prepared for that. Times are changing in our world and we need to be proactive of that," said Cliff Hedges, director of public safety and security with the Eastern States Exposition.
The Morgan-Sullivan Bridge is expected to be completed in the fall of 2022, so there may be a few more fairs to get through with added traffic concerns.