Changes in store for drivers coming to Thunder Over Louisville
This year, drivers will need to weigh convenience, versus cost.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Changes are in store for drivers coming to the Thunder Over Louisville airshow and fireworks display this weekend.
This year, drivers will need to weigh convenience, versus cost -- and that's affecting people like Alice Elliott, who launched Angels Therapeutic Massage about a year ago.
"I'm a mobile massage therapist," Elliott said. "I travel back-and-forth from Louisville to Indiana...wherever you are is where I'm going to come. I'm going to bring the spa to you."
But starting Thursday, she's telling clients in southern Indiana that they are going to have to come to her, because her free drive over the Second Street Bridge is going away -- at least temporarily -- as crews install fireworks for Thunder Over Louisville.
The bridge always shuts down for Thunder fireworks. What's different this year is the fact that the new Lincoln and Kennedy bridges are now tolled, leaving drivers just one free way over the Ohio River: the Sherman Minton Bridge.
"Paying tolls is not in my budget," Elliott said.
On Monday, LMPD outlined traffic and security plans for Thunder Over Louisville.
Police say it takes between two hours and three-and-a-half hours to clear downtown Louisville of traffic after the event. Interstates will be rerouted at 8:45 p.m., including the closure of the Kennedy and Lincoln bridges for fireworks.
Thunder setup also sparks street closures downtown starting Friday at 10 a.m.
"What we ask is, if you live in the West End, then you should park west of Second Street," said Sgt. Billy Patterson of the LMPD Traffic Division. "If you live in the South End, you should park on the southernmost part of the venue. If you live in the East End, park east of Second Street. That will assist you in getting home faster."
Security remains a top focus -- especially after a shooting at last year's Pegasus Parade. Police say they are paying special attention to social media.
"We're tracking any kind of threat, and running it down," said Lt. Brian Bernardi. "At this time we have received no legitimate threat."
"If anything is to happen -- if somebody comes to our venue and acts a fool -- we will address it accordingly, swiftly and rapidly," Lt. Bernardi added.
As the kickoff to the Kentucky Derby season, Thunder Over Louisville brings more than a half-million people to the Waterfront.
Elliott says she loves the tradition, but this year, she will be watching from home.
"Every dollar counts," Elliott said. "We can't waste one."
Thunder Over Louisville is in its 28th year. The Great Lawn opens at 9 a.m. on Saturday. The airshow starts at 2:30 p.m., and fireworks begin at 9:30 p.m.
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