Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police are gearing up for this weekend’s July 4th and First Friday festivities; and ask the public to be mindful of traffic conditions in the Downtown area.
The annual firework display is set to begin at 9:15 p.m., July 4, and will be visible from River Street. Thousands of firework show spectators are expected to attend.
In anticipation of potential road delays, Metro will increase traffic and foot patrols in the Downtown festival area, starting Friday afternoon. Officers also will patrol Hutchinson Island in greater force to assist with traffic flow, prevent bottle-necking and help move motorists safely. To ensure safety and help minimize delays, motorists are asked to be vigilant, patient and co-operative.
Public parking lots on River Street will close on Monday at about 3 a.m. until early Tuesday afternoon. River Street will close to vehicular traffic Monday at 3 p.m. and will reopen early Tuesday morning.
All traffic and parking laws will be enforced on in Downtown Savannah and Hutchinson Island. Vehicles parked in the roadway, or in a manner that obstructs traffic will be towed at the owner’s expense. Please note that parking vehicles on the Truman Parkway and Talmadge Bridge also is dangerous and illegal.
Interstate 16 will be available to drivers leaving the firework show. To leave Downtown, traffic originating from points beyond Bay Street will be directed away from Martin Luther King Boulevard to other routes, such as Whitaker and West Bay streets. Westbound traffic on Bay Street will be directed to East Lathrop Avenue to access I-16 via Louisville Road.
Police recommend use of city parking garages, where drivers will be given maps for the easiest Downtown exit routes following the firework display. Motorists are encouraged to plan ahead, expect delays and heed posted signage. The key components of the traffic plan include:
• Prohibiting traffic from turning southbound onto Whitaker from Bay. Westbound traffic on Bay Street will be directed to alternate routes to I-16 through East Lathrop and Louisville Road, or through Garden City.
• Parking garage traffic will be routed southbound on MLK, Whitaker and Price streets.
• Alternate routes to I-16 are West Gwinnett and 37th streets. Price Street also can be used to get to 37th Street, which will take traffic to westbound I-16.
• Additional signage will be deployed to assist drivers in locating the alternative routes to I-16.
• Traffic may be heavy along Highway 80 for those leaving Tybee Island’s fireworks display. There is a slight potential for shallow coastal flooding due to King Tides July 4. At this time, this flooding is not expected to close Highway 80. Remember if there is shallow coastal flooding: TURN AROUND, DON’T DROWN
• Traffic headed toward Wilmington Island via President Street should flow as usual.
Also please remember that the City of Savannah Curfew Law remains in effect for this event. All persons 16 years of age and under must be off the streets at 11 p.m. unless accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Officers will be enforcing this City Ordinance.
As always you can stay up to date with the latest on the Festival, road closures and other related updates by following the Twitter Feed @SCMPD, Facebook or the website www.scmpd.org.