The Merrimack Valley Casino Environmental Notification Form was released Tuesday, including a preliminary traffic assessment for the proposed slots-only casino at 300 Ames Pond Drive.
While you can click the link above to read the full form yourself (the traffic assessment begins on page 52), we'll take a look at some excerpts from the document below:
- The study was completed by Fay, Spofford and Thorndike LLC of Burlington.
- Route 133 and North Street are identified as key roadways within the traffic study area.
- You can view key intersections identified in the study on page 55.
- Information regarding existing traffic volumes is on pages 56 and 57.
- On an average weekday 6,070 vehicle trips per day or 3,035 total vehicles visiting the facility (each vehicle represents two trips—one trip to arrive and one trip to depart).
- During a morning peak hour during an average week day at the proposed Merrimack Valley Casino, an estimated 243 vehicles per hour are expected counting both cars coming and leaving the facility (page 61)..
- During an evening peak hour during an average week night, an estimated 308 vehicles per hour are expected counting both cars coming and leaving the facility (page 61).
- During a Saturday mid-day hour, an estimated 380 vehicles per hour are expected counting both cars coming and leaving the facility (page 61).
- The assessment estimates 1,840,000 customers at the facility annually (page 62).
- The assessment estimates 35,385 patrons per week, the equivalent of an estimated 23,590 vehicles per week (page 62).
- Peak morning arrivals for weekdays are 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. and for weeknights 7 p.m. to 8 p.m, except for Friday nights when peak arrivals are from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.
- Saturday peak morning arrivals are from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. and Saturday evening peak arrivals are from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.
- You can read preliminary estimates of traffic volumes and peak hours of operations for key roadways on page 63.
According to the assessment, key intersections along Andover Street are in close proximity to one another and already signalized, making them ideal candidates for "signal coordination, synchronization, enhanced phasing and timing and equipment upgrades including Opticom pre-emption."
Along with improved lane marking and additional sinage, improved signals will "eliminate any potential for delays associated with the modest anticipated traffic added volumes and will serve to even enhance mobility."
Based on preliminary traffic information from MassDOT, the two intersections associated with the ramps to I-495 are both currently under capacity, according to the assessment.
There are specific turning movements associated with the two 495 intersections that could use improvement, according to the assessment, and "signalization improvements will serve to better balance the two intersections to take advantage of the available capacity and provide relief for those specific turning movements."
According to the assessment, Route 133 will be evaluated for corridor connectivity of sidewalks, identifying sections where sidewalks are missing or incomplete.
Bicycle accommodations will be made both on-site and off-site, according to the assessment.
Jeff Morris, Director of Public Affairs for Penn National Gaming, said the traffic assessment was encouraging as it indicates traffic impacts on the area surrounding 300 Ames Pond Drive would be manageable.
"While this is a preliminary report, we have confidence that the traffic impact of our proposed Merrimack Valley Casino will be modest," Morris said "One of the reasons is that the peak hours for our facility will be between 11 a.m. and noon, and 8 to 9 p.m., not during high-volume morning and evening rush hours."
Morris said Penn National Gaming is anticipating upgrades to Route 133, North Street and other surrounding roads.
"At the same time, we do anticipate that there will be needed upgrades that could include dedicated turn lanes, additional traffic signals and signage, and other improvements that Penn National will completely fund," Morris said.
Morris said these upgrades could help to improve the existing infrastructure in the areas surrounding 300 Ames Pond Drive.
"Coupled with improved lane markings and directional signage, fully coordinating and updating the signals in the vicinity of the site will essentially eliminate any potential for delays associated with the anticipated added traffic volumes and could serve to enhance mobility," Morris said.
You can view the full Environmental Notification Form here.