July 4th Fireworks Security Changes: Mass. Ave. Bridge Closed, Bag & Cooler Limits
BOSTON (CBS) – There will be some major changes for viewing the “Boston Pops Firework Spectacular” on the Esplanade July 4, in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings.
State and local law enforcement announced Tuesday the Massachusetts Avenue Bridge will be completely closed to the public at 4 p.m. on the Fourth and there will be no viewing of the fireworks from there.
There will also be significant restrictions on bags and coolers and the Esplanade Island lagoon will be a secure area this year for the first time. Separate wristbands will be needed for entry there and to the Esplanade Oval.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030′s Kim Tunnicliffe reports
Massachusetts State Police Colonel Tim Alben said the security changes are not a result of any specific threat and there’s no intelligence suggesting a threat.
No backpacks will be allowed into the two secured areas for the event – the Oval and the Island lagoon.
Authorities said all personal items must be carried in clear bags only.
Coolers cannot be on wheels and they must be carried in by shoulder strap or a single handle.
After 4 p.m., spectators will not be allowed to bring anything inside the secure area. Alben said 4 p.m. was chosen as a cut-off time because in past years they’ve seen a rush of people late in the afternoon who just want to come in and watch the fireworks.
Spectators will have to pass through a bag check and screening to enter the Oval and the Island lagoon. Once inside, they will be given wristbands for that secured area. When the areas are full, the wristband distribution will end.
Organizers have compiled a list of prohibited and allowed items and published it on their website.
Alben said visitors will see more State Troopers at the event than ever before, many of them wearing yellow vests, so the public can easily spot them.
Numerous undercover officers will also be stationed on the Esplanade and the security camera system has been improved.
The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. and the fireworks are scheduled to start at 9:35 p.m. and last 20 minutes.
More than 500,000 people are expected to attend.
For the eleventh year in a row, WBZ-TV will be the exclusive television partner for the July 4th Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular. This year’s broadcast will run from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m., hosted by WBZ-TV News anchors Lisa Hughes and Jonathan Elias and featuring WBZ-TV’s Jack Williams, Paula Ebben and Todd Gutner.
The show will also air locally on WBZ NewsRadio 1030, hosted by Jordan Rich and WBZ News anchor Joe Mathieu.
Live audio of the event will be available at CBSBoston.com.