Riverfest/WEBN Fireworks Road Closures: What You Need to Know

Keep these road closures in mind to avoid getting stuck in traffic on Sept. 4.

click to enlarge With Riverfest fireworks comes road closures. - Photo: Elisha Terada, Unsplash
Photo: Elisha Terada, Unsplash
With Riverfest fireworks comes road closures.

Cincinnatians are getting ready to make their annual pilgrimage to the banks of the Ohio River — and any building with a riverfront view — for the 46th Riverfest firework display.

Launched more than four decades ago to celebrate the 10th anniversary of radio station WEBN (102.7 FM), this Labor Day bash officially signals the end of summer with a series of colorful explosions in the sky.

In addition to food, music and one of the largest firework shows in the Midwest set to music from host WEBN (you are 100% guaranteed to hear “Smoke on the Water”), festgoers can expect to see half a million other humans — and some major traffic jams.

Riverfest's Rozzi’s Famous Fireworks show will start at 9 p.m. Sept. 4. But the Riverfest party kicks off at noon at Sawyer Point and Yeatman's Cove.

And road closures begin shortly after.

Cincinnati:

The city of Cincinnati suggests everyone plan ahead, know where they want to go, arrive places early and use public transportation when possible. They expect over a quarter of a million people will be coming to Cincinnati's riverfront to enjoy the celebrations. Parking will not be available downtown south of Ninth St. after 11 a.m. Sept. 4. Roads and bridges will start closing at 6 p.m., so the city suggests you get to where you need to go before then.

Here are the closures to expect on Sept. 4:
  • Purple People Bridge closes at 5 p.m.
  • The Roebling Suspension Bridge and Taylor Southgate Bridge close at 6 p.m. Pedestrians can cross the west side of the Taylor Southgate Bridge until 7 p.m.
  • The Clay Wade Bailey Bridge closes to vehicles at 6 p.m.
  • Access to the Daniel Carter Beard Bridge (I-471) from Ohio closes at 7 p.m.
  • The third Street exit from westbound Columbia Parkway closes at 9 p.m.
  • The Third Street exit from southbound I-71 closes at 9 p.m.

Newport:

According to the city of Newport, you'll need to pick which side of the river you want to be on before 6 p.m., which is when most bridges and roads will close. Pedestrian traffic will also be closed on the Taylor Southgate Bridge at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 4. The city warns that travelers should expect long traffic delays.

Here are the closures to expect on Sept. 4:
  • Riverboat Row closes at 8 a.m.
  • Columbia Street north of Fourth Street closes at 8 a.m.
  • Purple People Bridge closes at 5 p.m. — but the bridge's Pagan's Path will close at 2:30 p.m. for the Rubber Duck Regatta
  • Taylor Southgate Bridge closes to vehicular traffic at 6 p.m. and pedestrians at 7:30 p.m.
  • Monmouth Street, between Third and 11th streets, closes at 7:30 p.m. and will re-open around 9 p.m. going one way toward I-471
  • Parking on Monmouth Streets ends at 6:30 p.m.
  • Dave Cowens Drive closes at 7:30 p.m.
  • The I-471 ramps to Route 8 close at 7:30 p.m. and all other I-471 ramps close at 8:30 p.m.
  • 10th Street between Saratoga and York streets closes at 7:30 p.m.
  • Fourth Street Bridge closes at 8:30 p.m.
  • Licking Pike North at Aspen Drive closes at 9 p.m.
  • I-471 North will remain open
  • All traffic west of York Street will be one-way going west to I-275

Covington:

The City of Covington says the following rules and closures apply to "Devou Park and what’s called the downtown Riverfest Impact Area – the area north of East Fourth Street between the Licking River and Madison Avenue, with a contiguous section from Madison to Johnson Street along West Rivercenter Boulevard."

Here are the closures to expect on Sept. 4:
  • Streets north of East Fourth Street, between Madison Avenue and the Licking River, will close at 6 p.m.
  • The Roebling Suspension Bridge and Clay Wade Bailey Bridge will close to all traffic at 6 p.m.
  • The Fourth Street Bridge will close at 8 p.m.
  • Madison Avenue will close to through traffic north of Fourth Street once the street's parking lots are full, or at 6 p.m. (whichever comes first)
  • Access to Devou Park, Kenton Hills and The Bluffs will be restricted to residents and their guests only starting at 2 p.m.
  • Streets in the "impact area" will be closed until Covington Police feel enough pedestrians have exited to reopen safely.

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