Palmer speaks out on Mohegan's traffic plans - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Palmer speaks out on Mohegan's traffic plans

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PALMER, MA (WSHM) -

Traffic has been a popular topic when it comes to a casino in Western Mass.

Thursday night, Palmer residents were able to view traffic plans created by Mohegan Sun should they receive a casino license.

Those plans would include several updates to roads in Palmer, especially those centralized around the Mass Pike exit.

Palmer residents packed into the Mohegan Sun headquarters on Main Street to catch a glimpse at the gaming company's traffic plans.

"It's a major reconstruction of the Exit 8, Thorndike Street, Route 32 interchange," said Paul Brody, project coordinator for Mohegan Sun Massachusetts.

Brody said the development would help pave the way for smoother traffic in Palmer should their billion-dollar proposed casino come to town.

"We're talking about going eight lanes with multiple turn lanes, changes in the signalization and moving the traffic to a degree that hasn't been experienced there in forever," said Brody.

The plans would be paid for by Mohegan Sun and would also include new pedestrian signals and sidewalks.

Palmer Town Councilor Paul Burns said the traffic changes are something the town has long been waiting for. 

"I think the traffic plans are a good, comprehensive approach to resolving some traffic issues that already exist in town," said Burns.

Some residents said those already existing issues could be easily fixed with Mohegan's plans.

"I really think that they're dealing with it and it's a win-win for Palmer," said resident Jim St. Amand.

But others said there are still some unanswered questions.

"The guy didn't give me any answers to how they're going to rebuild High Street and Thorndike Street," said resident Tom Losaw.

"I don't see any way that they can say there won't be a traffic problem," explained resident Nelson Pease.

Brody said the plans are not set in stone and Mohegan is taking every consideration into thought.
    
"When we receive comments, we take them to our traffic engineers and they have been elements of what we've proposed and will continue to propose to the gaming commission come Dec. 31," said Brody.

Palmer residents will head to the polls on Nov. 5 to vote on whether or not to accept a host community agreement with Mohegan Sun.

The other contender for a Western Mass casino is MGM Springfield. The city of Springfield already voted to approve their host community agreement back in July.

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