HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Holyoke Police are gearing up for Sunday’s Saint Patrick’s Day parade traffic as they expect many to be in attendance.

It is estimated that nearly half a million people attend the inaugural parade every year. In an effort to prevent any heavy traffic build-up, Holyoke Police and Massachusetts State Police officers will be posted at every road closure to direct people onto detours to keep traffic moving. 

For instance, there will be a detour over by Holyoke mall where Whiting Farms Road and part of Northampton Street are closed. “This way, if they need to go north or south, they can access the Interstate 91, or if they need to go somewhere else, they can access Main Street from Homestead Avenue or Lower Westfield Road,” said Lieutenant Sgt. Anthony Sotolotto. 

Exit ramp closure notices will be posted on highways by MassDOT using flashing boards.

According to Holyoke Police, they are also prepared for any type of situation that might arise in the parade and around it. “With the state police as partners and the use of some of their resources, it is all hands on deck for us,” said Sotolotto. Throughout the day, helicopters with high-tech gear will fly around. 

“We’re always on the lookout for new kinds of craziness that could pop up, but by in-large we try to be as much prepared as we can,” adds Sotolotto. “We usually have an order in place a couple of weeks in advance with assignment, federal partners are great with providing federal intelligence. If there is anything that needs to be addressed before it happens we take care of it right away.”

There will also be Holyoke Fire Department on hand during the event in case of medical emergencies or fires. It is assured by Holyoke Police that this parade will remain as safe as possible for those attending. 

Drivers in Holyoke on Sunday should expect delays starting at 9:45 in the morning due to the Parade. The Parade kicks off at 11:10 a.m. at the KMart plaza on RT 5 / Northampton street and ends on High Street. It is expected to take about three hours to move through the city. Once the Parade ends the streets will reopen.

You can watch the parade here on 22News Sunday, March 19th.