SAVANNAH, GA – July 2, 2014: In preparation for an influx of motorists traveling along Savannah-Chatham Highways during the firework displays on the Fourth of July, The Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department has implemented a traffic operations plan to reduce delays and relieve congestion.
SCMPD officers will be located strategically in the downtown corridor where historically long back-ups, short tempers, and occasional low-speed traffic crashes occur following the fireworks display.
Starting Friday afternoon, additional officers will be posted in the downtown area to monitor traffic flow and to ensure the safety of spectators. Officers will be posted at multiple intersections downtown, on Hutchinson Island and on River Street.
With very large crowds expected in the downtown area for the fireworks on River Street and Hutchinson Island the public should expect some delays. SCMPD officers will be working at intersections in the downtown area and on Hutchinson Island to monitor the traffic flow, prevent bottle-necking and assist motorists safely to their destinations.
To ensure your safety and the safety of our officers and to help minimize delays, motorists should be vigilant, patient, and follow the instructions of officers directing traffic. We ask that you DO NOT stop in traffic to ask officers for directions. Pedestrians are asked to cross at crosswalks and follow the instruction of the walk signals on the lights.
Public parking lots on River Street will be closed beginning Friday around 3 a.m. and will remain closed until early Sunday.
River Street will close to vehicle traffic Friday at 4 p.m. and will reopen early Saturday morning.
Those traveling to Hutchinson Island to view the fireworks should be aware that all traffic and parking laws will be enforced and drivers should cautious while driving and park legally. Vehicles parked in the roadway, or parked in manner that obstructs the roadway will be towed at the owner’s expense.
Juvenile Curfews will go into effect at midnight for all persons under age 17 and will be strictly enforced for those in the downtown area not under parental supervision. SCMPD officers will be on scene to ensure the safety of Savannah’s youth.
The conclusion of the annual fireworks display brings significant traffic challenges. The bulk of the spectators traditionally leave the downtown area after the fireworks display and want to get onto I-16. Many motorists utilize MLK Boulevard, which creates heavy traffic congestion.
In an effort to efficiently and effectively move traffic, SCMPD will implement a comprehensive traffic plan which includes directing vehicles to alternative routes away from the downtown area. All of these routes provide alternate ways to reach I-16. Motorists are encouraged to plan ahead, expect some delays, be mindful of posted signage, and follow officers’ instructions. The key components of the traffic plan include:
• Prohibiting traffic from turning southbound on Whitaker from Bay.
• Parking garage traffic will be routed southbound on MLK, Whitaker, and Price Streets.
• All traffic on Whitaker Street will be routed southbound. Alternate routes to I-16 are Gwinnett Street and 37th Street.
• Price Street will be open and can be used to get to 37th Street which will take you to I-16.
• Additional signage will be deployed to assist drivers in locating the alternative routes to I-16. Those who are not familiar with the direction the detour is taking them should be mindful of the signage and use it.
• Traffic headed towards the island via President Street should flow as usual.
• Traffic on Hutchinson Island will be routed to I-16 for Georgia and US-17 South Carolina.
As a reminder, parking vehicles on the Truman Parkway and Talmadge Bridge is illegal. Each year SCMPD positions officers on these two limited access highways to prevent spectators parking and/or standing on them.
Lastly, remember to Snap, Save, and Share, taking a photo on your smartphone of each of your young ones in the clothing that they are wearing to the event helps officers to quickly identify and locate them should you become separated at point in the heavy crowds.
Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police wish everyone a fun and safe Fourth of July weekend!