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Road Closures, Traffic Details for Boston's July 4 Celebration

Heading into the Esplanade? Find out which roads will be affected.

Editor's Note: Massachusetts State Police and event organizers have rescheduled the Boston Fireworks Spectacular for Thursday, July 3 due to the weather forecast. For full updated information, click here

As the July 4 weekend approaches, local and state officials are keeping an eye on Tropical Storm Arthur to see how it may affect Boston's annual fireworks spectacular at the Esplanade. 

As of Wednesday noontime, no plans or decision had been made as to whether any events need to be rescheduled, and any updates or changes would be announced by late Wednesday, according to State Police spokesperson Dave Procopio.

So, if the weekend's events go on as scheduled, how will traffic be affected and what road closures will be in place? Below are details on vehicular and pedestrian traffic restrictions that will be in place, courtesy of the Massachusetts State Police.

Note: All roadways are to remain closed unless otherwise noted until the Department of Conservation and Recreation has an opportunity to clean the area. Due to ongoing construction this year, there will be no fireworks viewing allowed from the Longfellow Bridge. 

Wednesday, July 2

From 7 a.m. until 6 a.m., July 5, there will be no parking on Mugar Way from Arlington Street to Charles Street. All vehicles remaining will be removed. 

Thursday, July 3

6 a.m. 

Right-hand travel lane on Storrow Drive westbound will be closed. 

7 a.m. 

  • Esplanade walkway adjacent to the Charles River will be closed to pedestrians and bicyclists from the area of the Community Boat Club to the front of the concession stand. All pedestrians and bicyclists will be directed to the sidewalk adjacent to Storrow Drive until about 3 p.m. 
  • Oval area closed to the public for Boston Pops rehearsal (the area will open at about 5 p.m. or as determined by Boston 4 producers and the Incident Commander). 

9 a.m. 

  • Esplanade curbside reserved for permitted bus parking form the Longfellow Bridge westbound to the Fielder Footbridge. 
  • Traffic will continue westbound on Storrow Drive. 
  • There will be no public parking along Storrow Drive for either the rehearsals or the concert. 

3 p.m. 

  • Storrow Drive will be closed to westbound traffic from the Lee Pool to the Bowker Overpass. All westbound traffic will be diverted to Charles Street Circle. Westbound traffic may re-enter Storrow Drive westbound by heading down Charles Street to Beacon Street to the westbound entrance at the Bowker Overpass. 
  • The exit to Arlington Street from the Storrow tunnel (eastbound) will be closed until 6 a.m. July 5. 
  • Mugar Way at Beacon Street will be closed to vehicular and pedestrian traffic. This will remain closed until the early morning hours of July 5. Pedestrians will be directed to Berkeley Street for entrance to the Esplanade. 
  • Berkeley Street Beacon Street will be closed to vehicular traffic. 
  • Storrow Drive Eastbound will be closed and detoured at the Bowker Overpass, which will remained closed until July 5 at a time to be determined. 

Friday, July 4

12 a.m. 

  • No parking on either side of Memorial Drive from 450 Memorial Dr. to the Longfellow Bridge. All vehicles remaining after this time will be removed.
  • No parking will be allowed on Cambridge Parkway. 

7 a.m.

  • Access to Storrow Drive westbound from Leverett Circle to Kenmore Square (Bowker Overpass) will be closed to traffic. 
  • The righthand travel lane on Charles River Dam Road will be closed from Museum Way to Leverett Circle. 
  • The Storrow Drive Exit Ramp in the Tip O'Neill Tunnel will be closed to all traffic except emergency vehicles. 
  • The Leverett Circle entrance to Storrow Drive West will also be closed. Traffic will be allowed to travel on Msgr. O'Brien Highway to Cambridge, and Martha way to Boston. 
  • The following Storrow Drive on- and off-ramp closures will remain in effect from July 3:
    1. Berkeley Street
    2. Charlesgate Area (heading east)
    3. Bowker Overpass from Park Drive and the Fenway
    4. Charles Street Circle (heading west)
    • No parking at Magazine Beach and Pool, Riverside Boat Club and the MWRA pump station at Cottage Farm. Boat launching in this area will be prohibited. 
    • Pedestrian Footbridge at Charles Street Circle going to the Esplanade closed. 
    • Fielder Footbridge from Beacon Street going to the Esplanade will be closed. 

    3 p.m. 

    • No access to Storrow Drive westbound from the Kenmore Square area (Bowker Overpass). 
    • No access to Storrow Drive westbound from the Beacon Street on-ramp under the Bowker Overpass. 
    • Storrow Drive eastbound will be detoured at University Avenue. 

    4 p.m.

    • Memorial Drive in both directions from Massachusetts Avenue to the Longfellow Bridge closed to vehicular traffic. 
    • Main Street, Cambridge from the Third Street to the Longfellow Bridge closed to vehicular traffic. 
    • Ames Street from Main Street to Memorial Drive, Cambridge closed to vehicular traffic. 
    • Wadsworth and Amherst streets, Cambridge, closed to vehicular traffic. 
    • Land Boulevard (Cambridge) from Binney Street to Longfellow Bridge closed to vehicular traffic. 
    • Hayward, Carlton, Charlotte's Way and Dock streets in Cambridge closed to vehicular traffic. 
    • Access allowed to One Memorial Drive only with issued permit. 
    • Longfellow Bridge closed to vehicular traffic. Pedestrians will be allowed on the downstream side (only side open due to construction). 
    • Due to construction, the Longfellow Bridge will be closed to pedestrian traffic from about 9 p.m. until the end of the fireworks. NOTE: Due to the construction, no fireworks viewing form the Longfellow Bridge will be allowed. 
    • Massachusetts Avenue Bridge will be closed in both directions to vehicular and pedestrian traffic from Beacon Street in Boston to Vassar Street in Cambridge. No fireworks viewing will be allowed from the Massachusetts Avenue Bridge. 
    • Memorial Drive from Mass Ave to the BU Bridge closed to vehicular traffic. Vehicular access will be allowed for patrons going to the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Hyatt patrons will be directed to the Vassar Street road closure. 
    • Vassar Street in Cambridge from Mass Ave to Memorial Drive closed to vehicular traffic. Access will be allowed for residents and Hyatt patrons. 
    • Cambridge Parkway closed to vehicular traffic except, it will remain open to vehicles with Handicap Placards/plates only. All vehicles must be removed from Cambridge Parkway by 1 a.m. on July 5. 

    10:15 p.m.

    • Third Street in Cambridge becomes one way from Main Street to Msgr. O’Brien Highway. 
    • Craigie Drawbridge (at Leverett Circle) to remain closed for approximately 2 hours to allow traffic to subside. 
    • Smaller boats that can pass under bridge while in the down position will be allowed to pass.
    • All closures are subject to change at the discretion of the Incident Commander. 

    Handicapped Parking: July 4

    12 p.m.

    • Mass. Eye & Ear Storrow parking lot opens for vehicles displaying handicap placards/plates. HP placards/plates are needed for entry to the lot. 
    • (Entrance for the parking lot is through Charles Circle). 
    • The Mass Eye & Ear lot will close when the designated handicap area at the Esplanade is filled, the allotted parking area at the specified.
    • Mass. Eye & Ear lot is filled or at 6 p.m., whichever occurs first. 
    • MBTA handicap shuttle vans (The Ride) will cease operation when the handicap area is filled or at 6 p.m., whichever comes first. 
    • Vans for the return trip will stage on Storrow Drive Eastbound, facing east from the fence opening. When the area becomes clear for the movement of guests seated in the handicap area, they will be escorted across Storrow Drive to staged shuttle vans. 
    • Handicap parking will also be accommodated on Cambridge Parkway. 

    Cleanup

    • Clean-up begins 30 minutes after fireworks have concluded. 
    • All roadways will remain closed until clean and labor crews are safely removed. 
    • If possible, there will be an attempt to open roadways in the following order:
      1. Mass Ave. Bridge
      2. Longfellow Bridge
      3. Memorial Drive
      4. Storrow Drive, Bowker Overpass, Chalresgate Area, Charles Circle

      Note: Viewing of fireworks display from Rte. I-93 is prohibited. State troopers assigned to this area will enforce that there is no stopping to watch fireworks on the highway. 

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