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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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