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COVINGTON, NEWPORT, BELLEVUE: Road Closures & Other Important Riverfest Info

It's that time of year again! The wildest celebration on both sides of the Ohio River arrives on Sunday with the return of Riverfest and the WEBN Fireworks.

If you plan to party and watch the fireworks show in Covington, Newport, and Bellevue, don't miss this important information from each city.

COVINGTON

This year's Western & Southern / WEBN Fireworks at Riverfest is set for noon to 10 p.m. on Sunday, September 6 at the riverfront.
 
The annual event impacts Covington traffic flow and neighborhoods, so the City of Covington and the Covington Police Department (CPD) want to provide residents, businesses and visitors with the following information to ensure a safe and orderly Covington.
 
The Riverfest Impact Area includes all streets north of East Fourth Street and east of Madison Avenue and West Rivercenter Blvd. from Johnson Street to Madison Avenue. All times listed are for September 6, 2015. 
 
The CPD Command Center will be located at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center, 1 W. Rivercenter Blvd.
 
Road Closures
 
All streets north of East Fourth Street and east of Madison Avenue will be closed to vehicular traffic at 6 p.m. The Roebling Suspension Bridge and the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge will be closed to all traffic beginning at 6 p.m. The Fourth Street Bridge to Newport will close at 8 p.m.
 
Madison Avenue will remain open to allow access to public parking lots and garages until they are full or 6 p.m., whichever occurs first. Once the parking lots and garages have reached full capacity, Madison Ave. will be closed to through traffic north of East Fourth Street. There are exceptions for TANK buses, invitation holders to the Metropolitan Club and hotel guests with room keys and parking passes.
 
Devou Park, Kenton Hills, and The Bluffs will have restricted traffic beginning at 2 p.m. Access to these areas will be restricted to residents and their guests only.
 
Streets inside of the Impact Area will not reopen and residents and guests will not be permitted to exit the Impact Area in a vehicle until the CPD Event Commander determines that it is safe to do so. This may be up to an hour after the fireworks are completed.
 
The safe evacuation of the pedestrian traffic leaving the Impact Area will be the first concern of CPD. Traffic movement will be coordinated as soon as all pedestrians have safely cleared the area.
 
Parking
 
The following areas within the Impact Area will be posted as "No Parking Tow Away Zones". Vehicles parked in these areas will be towed starting at 7 a.m.:
  • Riverside Drive
  • Garrard Street between East Second Street and Riverside Drive
  • Kennedy Street between East Second Street and Riverside Drive
  • Shelby Street
  • Scott Blvd. north of East Fourth Street (including parking meters)
  • Greenup Street north of East Fourth Street (including parking meters)
  • East Third Street east of Madison Avenue (including parking meters)
  • Park Place (including parking meters)
  • Court Street (including parking meters)
  • Surface lots along the floodwall on Rivercenter Blvd. between Madison Avenue and Johnson Street and below the Roebling Suspension Bridge
  • Grass areas in Devou Park
All vehicles parked in garages and parking lots located in the Impact Area will not be permitted to leave until pedestrian traffic has cleared and the CPD Event Commander has determined that it is safe for vehicle traffic.
 
Alcohol & Other Restrictions
 
Alcohol is prohibited on City property and in public places at all times. All coolers and beverage containers are subject to inspection by CPD officers and will be checked at designated checkpoints.
 
For guests attending private events, no alcohol is permitted in the Impact Area after 6 p.m. Anyone wishing to bring alcohol to a private event must have it in the Impact Area before 6 p.m. After 6 p.m., police officers will not allow anyone with alcohol to enter the Impact Area.
 
Glass containers, bicycles, skateboards, pets, roller blades, roller skates, and fireworks are all prohibited in the Impact Area. Motorized vehicles or scooters are not permitted on floodwalls. Swimming in both the Ohio and Licking Rivers is also prohibited during Riverfest. Additional information and a map of the Impact Area is available on the City's website, www.covingtonky.gov

NEWPORT

The Newport Police Department is urging visitors to Riverfest to decide which side of the Taylor Southgate Bridge they want to be on before it closes to vehicular traffic at 6 p.m. and to pedestrian traffic at 7:30 p.m.

Visitors should plan for long delays when leaving the event due to the large amount of vehicular traffic.

If you are bringing a backpack to the event, police ask that it be clear to help facilitate entrance to the venue.

DO NOT:

1. BRING BEVERAGES OF ANY TYPE INTO THE VENUE.
2. BRING COOLERS OR GRILLS OF ANY TYPE.
3. BRING TENTS, UMBRELLAS OR LARGE CHAIRS.
4. BRING ROLLERSKATES, ROLLERBLADES OR 
SCOOTERS.
5. BRING MECHANICAL, MOTORIZED VEHICLES OR 
BICYCLES.
6. BRING ANY ANIMALS OF ANY TYPE.
7. SOLICIT NORTH OF 4th ST. WITHOUT A SPECIAL 
RIVERFEST VENDORS LICENSE ISSUED 
SPECIFICALLY FOR THE EVENT.
8. PARK YOUR VEHICLE ILLEGALLY ANYWHERE THAT YOU WOULD NOT PARK IT ANY OTHER TIME. (I.e. Expressway, median, road shoulder, entrance ramps, roadway,clearly marked “NO PARKING” zones.) If you park or stop on the interstate, you will be cited or towed!
9. ATTEMPT TO BRING ANY TYPE OF ALCOHOL

Traffic

All traffic is being routed to I-471 or I-275. Police suggest turning off GPS recommended routes until vehicles reach the interstate. Take whichever entrance ramp you are closest to or are directed to and after getting on the interstate, you can turn around if you need to, police said in a news release. This will help speed up traffic flow as all the entrance ramps are only one lane. All traffic lanes that are manned by emergency personnel are direct routes to the interstate.

Street Closures

I-471 northbound will remain open throughout the event. Do not attempt to park on I-471 or on the bridge to watch the fireworks. Police will cite you and your vehicle will be towed.

Cowens Drive closes at 7:30 p.m.

Riverboat Row closes at 8 a.m.

Columbia Street north of 4th Street closes at 8 a.m.

3rd Street west of York Street closes at 8 a.m.

3rd Street between York and Columbia Streets becomes one-way at 8 a.m.

Purple People Bridge closes to pedestrians at 5 p.m.

Taylor-Southgate Bridge closes to vehicles at 6 p.m. and to pedestrians at 7:30 p.m.

I-471 exit ramps to Route 8 will close at 7:30 p.m. unless safety concerns dictate that they should close earlier.

Monmouth Street from 3rd to 11th Streets closes at 7:30 p.m. There will be no parking on Monmouth Street after 7 p.m.

10th Street betweeb Saratoga and York Streets closes at 7:30 p.m.

4th Street Bridge to Covington closes at 8:30 p.m.

All traffic west of York Street will be directed south on Central Avenue (Route 9) to 12th Street, west on 12th Street to I-275.

At approximately 9:15 p.m. Monmouth Street will reopen and change to one-way south to send all traffic on US 27 to I-471 north and south.

All traffic using Route 8 after the event will be sent to I-471 north or south as well.

After the event, the Northern Kentucky University buses will stage at the Route 8 entrance ramp to I-471 southbound for everyone that arrived on those buses.

BELLEVUE

The No Tailgating Ban will be strictly enforced: There will be no tailgating permitted on any public right of way or city-owned property, including parks or privately-owned property within the Riverfest Event Area.

Once you park you will not be permitted to consume alcohol or grill out at your vehicle. Open alcohol containers in a public location are a violation of state law and violators will be dealt with appropriately, police said in a news release.

Do not follow the direction of your GPS because many streets in Bellevue, Newport, and Covington will have changed from their regular traffic flow patterns to accommodate the increased traffic. Follow the signs or directions given by Bellevue Police officers or VIPS.

The ramp leading to northbound I 471 will not open until the pedestrian traffic has cleared out of the event area. Expect to wait 30 minutes after the fireworks end before traffic is allowed to move west on Fairfield Ave.

The southbound ramp will not open until all the shuttle buses have departed Cowens Drive, which should be 45 minutes after the fireworks end. Memorial Parkway ramps will not close and it is suggested that you use those ramps. Please remember everyone did not arrive in town at the same time so everyone can not expect to leave at the same time. Exiting Bellevue to the south is your best option, police said.

All parking regulation will be enforced throughout the city and those violators blocking the roadway or parked in a prohibited location will be towed. Premium paid parking will be available on the lot of The Party Source after 3:00 p.m.

A Mobil Command Center will be located in The Party Source lot next to the New Riff Distillery should you need a police officer.

-Staff report

Photo: Riverfest (RCN file)