The Big E opens Friday, which means tens of thousands of visitors will be in western Massachusetts this weekend.
The first thing you’ll need is a plan, the second is patience.
It’s the first time drivers will have to deal with combined traffic from the Big E and MGM Springfield.
“So, I look at the traffic as real economic development and I’m glad to see some of it,” said Gene Cassidy, president, and CEO of the Eastern States Exposition.
But sitting in traffic can be a headache.
Last year, BIG E visitors set a new record, of more than 1.5 million people. Add that to the thousands visiting the casino, traveling through West Springfield and downtown Springfield could become problematic.
“Well we gotta realize, a lot of the drivers that we’re going to be in traffic with this weekend, and the next few weeks, are from out of town,” said Gerald Smith. “And these people do not know where they’re going and we gotta be defensive.”
Whether you’re going to the Big E or MGM Springfield, have a plan in place. To avoid the heaviest traffic, travel during off-peak hours and if possible use public transportation.
“We work closely with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, also the Connecticut Department of Transportation to provide commuter lots,” Cassidy told 22News. “This year we’ll have a rail.”
The Big E parking lot holds 8,500 cars. But its neighbors play a pivotal role in providing additional parking for visitors in their yards and driveways.
The Eastern States Exposition is celebrating its 102nd year. It starts Friday and runs until September 30.