The Graton Resort & Casino will open for business in Rohnert Park on Nov. 5, casino officials announced Thursday, with as many as 6,000 customers expected for the grand opening, many from the Bay Area and beyond.

“I think you’ll see every kind of transportation at our door on opening day,” casino vice-president and general manager Joe Hasson told Press Democrat reporter Jeremy Hay.

Rohnert Park officials, projecting a significant increase in traffic, are working closely with the CHP, county emergency dispatchers and local fire agencies to prepare, said Assistant City Manager Darrin Jenkins. “We want to avoid having cars waiting in the highway lanes with nowhere for them to go.”

The city also is pushing hard to complete improvements to the main access to the casino, Wilfred Avenue — now renamed Golf Course Drive West — which is being widened from Redwood Drive to Stony Point Road, but there is a slim chance that it will not be finished out to Stony Point Road by Nov. 5, Jenkins said.

The casino’s environmental report projects about 14,274 additional vehicle trips a day; opponents predict 40,000, according to Hays.

Motorists who regularly drive northbound on Highway 101 during rush hours already complain about stop-and-go traffic. Are the roads ready to handle the new casino traffic? If not, where can we expect bottlenecks and how can locals avoid them?

(Read the full text of Jeremy Hay’s story HERE.)

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  1. Bob D.

    How can it not increase drive times? If the place is successful and they get the number of visitors they want, not only Hwy 101 but traffic on alternative routes such as Stony Point Road is going to get worse.

    September 20th, 2013 12:59 pm

  2. Tom

    hopefully, a meteor will hit the casino a little after midnight
    on the morning of Nov 5. Any reason they are opening on election day? Maybe Efren will show up in his underwear and socks….

    September 20th, 2013 1:48 pm

  3. Bob

    Efren will be there in his birthday suit.

    September 20th, 2013 3:50 pm

  4. Robert D

    I think the City of Rohnert Park, being its usual under-prepared self, has no idea what kind of gridlock will happen, and complain that they did not know how many vehicles would be coming to the casino. Yet another reason to move.

    September 20th, 2013 3:56 pm

  5. Matthew S

    Right on Tom! Largest Traffic Monster yet. Hope this place fails worse than the 2012 Dodgers….:) Gambling: Bad for a City, Bad for it’s people.

    September 22nd, 2013 1:13 am

  6. Laurie A.

    Actually Tom, wait a few months, for the rainy season, with our low water-table, and it being on a flood plain. The casino will just be swallowed up into a giant sinkhole with the endangered tiger salamander there rising up to greet the surprised customers. Then, life and traffic will get back to normal around here…

    September 23rd, 2013 12:22 am

  7. Laurie A.

    Back to the traffic. They don’t won’t even have Wilfred to Stoney Pt. done possibly? The traffic impact report was a joke as part of the Environmental Impact Report. Caltrans wouldn’t even count the casino traffic in the Wilfred Avenue improvements. The casino hasn’t paid for any of those improvements, but they are receiving the benefits, aren’t they? How about all the side roads off Stoney Pt. the casino traffic is going to block off. I may not be able to get out of my house which has 116 & W. Cotati Ave. (Already dangerous), and W.Sierra and Stoney Pt. as my access points to Santa Rosa.

    September 23rd, 2013 12:30 am

  8. Pearl A.

    I’m pretty sure the Wilfred Ave improvements were carved in stone before the Casino but…
    I guess that’s just the “you didn’t build that” part of “you didn’t build that”.

    September 30th, 2013 7:57 pm

  9. Bob

    The Sonoma County Stupervisors will most likely want to spend millions on a traffic study now!

    October 1st, 2013 4:18 pm

  10. G

    It will in most aspects, and during commute times. However, expect to see more buses bringing in people, of which weigh more than the average passenger vehicles, thus causing more damage to the roads, and more repairs being done.

    I’ve been to River Rock Casino, and the drive there in the afternoon hours is quiet, but the early am’s and late pm’s are more crowded.

    My main concern is Stony Point Rd west of the casino. This is a beautiful ‘Green Belt’ route, so let’s hope it doesn’t become a nightmare.

    October 9th, 2013 3:48 pm

  11. G

    Unequivocally YES! And as we’ve already seen, it will only get worse.

    That being said, businesses in the surrounding area close to the casino will suffer too. My monthly trip to Costco, Home Depot, and other businesses on and off Redwood Dr in RP from Petaluma will now be redirected south to the Novato Costco, and other businesses in Marin Co because of the increase in traffic.

    Bottom line, a very poor decision to build a casino in RP, and we are still yet to see any of the monies that the casino allegedly promised RP be put to use!

    November 10th, 2013 12:25 am

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