Everyone in the region can use two reminders each year ahead of the Thunder Over Louisville fireworks showcase – don’t drive downtown Saturday, and the Second Street bridge closes earlier in the week.
This year, the untolled George Rogers Clark Memorial Bridge, which connects Louisville via Second Street with Jeffersonville, will shut down at 9:30 a.m. Thursday to give event organizers time to prepare for the weekend show. The downtown crossing is set to reopen to the public at 2 p.m. Sunday, according to Kentucky Derby Festival officials.
The George Rogers Clark Memorial Bridge is one of just two crossings between Louisville and Southern Indiana that is not tolled, along with the Sherman Minton Bridge, which connects the Bluegrass State with New Albany.
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It isn’t the only bridge that’s closing over the weekend, either. The Big Four Pedestrian Bridge, which is not open for vehicles, will close from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday for air show practice, and the bridge will close Saturday during Thunder Over Louisville from 10 a.m. to midnight.
Additional information about traffic patterns Saturday in the city will be released Wednesday by Louisville Metro Police.
Thunder Over Louisville was canceled in 2020 amid the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and did not involve a gathering at Waterfront Park last year. But in previous years, the massive daylong showcase frequently drew more than 600,000 people to downtown Louisville, Southern Indiana and the Ohio River waterfront (again, this feels like a good time for a reminder that leaving downtown Louisville in a car after the show is generally a complete nightmare).
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This year’s event will mark the first time it’s taken place at Waterfront Park since 2019. Kentucky Derby Festival officials said it’s expected to pump $56 million into the local economy.
Thunder Over Louisville is the largest of the Kentucky Derby Festival’s more than 70 events each year. It’s taking place two weeks before the Kentucky Derby, set for May 7 at Churchill Downs.
Lucas Aulbach can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 502-582-4649 or on Twitter @LucasAulbach.