AGAWAM, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- For what seemed like the one and only day of sunshine recently, thousands of people flocked to Six Flags New England over the weekend, causing heavy traffic in Agawam and in the neighboring Connecticut town Suffield.
Western Mass News spoke with residents on Monday who live just down the street from here. They said they purposely didn't leave their house on Saturday knowing if they did it could take hours to get back home.
“There’s always been traffic, but this year seems to be extremely more aggressive than normal,” Agawam resident Chris Lombardi said.
Traffic was backed up for miles this weekend for those heading to Six Flags.
Area residents taking to social media, noticing heavy traffic caused by park-goers at Six Flags, which was backed up in Agawam and just across the state line in the Connecticut town of Suffield. Some even saying those stuck in traffic threw trash onto their lawns.
Agawam Mayor Bill Sapelli said he hasn't seen park traffic like this in decades.
“I’m going to refer to it as a perfect storm. What you had this past Saturday, in my opinion, was you had a month of weather that was absolutely abysmal as we all know,” Sapelli said.
He said a day of sunshine likely had people flocking to the park.
“And they saw this as a window of opportunity knowing not only was this a great Saturday probably the first good Saturday, but they also knew in the weather forecast that Sunday was not going to be a good day; it was gonna be pretty nasty,” Sapelli explained.
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He said he’s been in communication with Agawam Police and park leaders about the issue. He said solutions include utilizing more police staffing and using some of the exits in the parking areas as extra entrances.
“Because you don’t have people exiting at 10 in the morning, you're just coming. S to utilize that to get them off the main roads as well,” Sapelli said.
Agawam and Suffield Police Departments working with the park to hire additional officers to help get patrons into the park.
“But once you have the cars here in town and the people in the park and now you're trying to park you're trying to get people in at that point, it’s almost just at the control stage to try to limit the commotion and the traffic jams. You can’t eliminate at that point it’s too late,” Sapelli said.
The traffic down Main Street isn't anything new to area residents like Lombardi and Jerry Reid, both of who say they planned to stay home Saturday to avoid traveling in the traffic.
“You’re not going to be able to get back. You can go where you want to, but you won’t be able to get back,” Lombardi said.
“You never really know what you’re going to get. You kind of have to really guide your day out and hope that you kind of find little gray areas when theyre not here. If not, then just come home as late as possible,” Reid said.
Western Mass News reached out to Six Flags leaders who declined an interview. Although, Sunday officials said in a statement that they were working on resolving the issue and apologized for any inconvenience.