LOISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- This year marks the first Thunder Over Louisville with the new Ohio River Bridges. Dozens of law enforcement agencies are mapping out their plans for security and traffic, not to mention, there’s a Louisville Bats Game Friday night along with a Neil Diamond concert at the KFC Yum Center. It will be a very strategic effort to navigate downtown Louisville.
From the air, to the ground, it's a multi-state and multi-agency collaboration to keep Thunder attendees as safe as possible.
As Lieutenant Brian Bernardi, who heads the LMPD Special Operations Division details, “We know in New Orleans during Mardi Gras, we had a drunk driver that plowed into a group of spectators so we do take that seriously and we track those threats but at this time we are not tracking anything like that that's going to be a threat to our venue.”
From lost children and other security measures to traffic, now we can add new bridge traffic to the list for officers to patrol. We've learned that the Clark Memorial, Kennedy and Lincoln bridges will all close before, during and after Thunder Over Louisville.
Sgt. Billy Patterson with LMPD’s Traffic Unit tells us, “The interstates will be re-routed at approximately 8:45pm this year, the outbound traffic ramps from 64 to downtown will reopen after we ensure that the highways are clear of any and all pedestrians. Our outbound traffic plans begins at approximately 9:30.”
The new East End Bridge we're told could help with traffic getting over to the Hoosier state since it's away from downtown, Sgt. Patterson adds, “Obviously it’s going to be the first year with it so this will be kind of a test run with us as well, I could see where it wouldn't hurt.”
Parents will again have help in the event they become separated from their child. Matt Gibson, Vice President of the Kentucky Derby Festival explains, “There are lost child stations with two on the southern Indiana side and five on the Kentucky side. We do suggest that you take a picture of your kid as recent as the day of Thunder with what they're wearing etcetera in case you get separated, you could go to those locations.”
It can take up to three hours to clear out downtown after Thunder. Officers say watch your surroundings, be patient, leave barricades alone and enjoy, because the family friendly event will be properly staffed on both sides of the Ohio.
The Big 4 Bridge closes Friday for air show practice from 11am-5pm and again Saturday from 9a-10pm.
At 10p.m. Thunder night, escorts will be available for those who need to move from Kentucky to Indiana or vice versa.
The Second Street Bridge closes Thursday after the morning rush through Sunday afternoon. Both the Kennedy and Lincoln and nearby highways will close at 8:45p.m. Thunder night.