Neighbors adjusting to life near Ilani casino

first_imgThe long-anticipated Ilani Casino Resort opened to much fanfare last week, and with it came a traffic backup of more than 8 miles and lots of idling cars at the Interstate 5 interchange.Those issues didn’t just frustrate drivers heading to the casino. They also irked those living in La Center who were diverted to back roads if they wanted to leave the city.As the backup grew on I-5, La Center city officials decided to close the main road leading to and from the city. They put up signs on La Center Road at Timmen Road, directing people to use the back roads to the Ridgefield I-5 interchange rather than the La Center onramp near the casino.“It was blocked off,” said La Center resident Jennifer Miller. “That seemed kind of wrong.”“It’s our road,” she added.La Center Public Works Director Jeff Sarvis said the decision to reroute traffic was made shortly after the casino opened, when it quickly became apparent that traffic at the interchange was going to be a mess for a while. Residents weren’t prohibited from using the interchange, Sarvis said; the city just advised against it.The city had plans in place to deal with increased traffic, but nobody anticipated the deluge of cars that backed up the freeway to the Interstate 5-Interstate 205 split within 90 minutes of the casino’s opening, Sarvis said.last_img