State College Police will be increasing its manpower for the Central PA 4th Fest, the annual State College event commemorating the Fourth of July, but are optimistic that the event will go smoothly.
State College Police Lieutenant Chris Fishel said the event is typically calm, and the only issue in the past has been keeping a steady traffic flow in and out of the fireworks display.
Fishel said that in the past, people coming in for the fireworks would sometimes miss it entirely because traffic was so backed up. In recent years, Fishel said, police have come up with traffic detours to lessen congestion.
The fireworks display is scheduled to begin at 9:15 p.m. in the area surrounding Beaver Stadium. Although only small changes will be made for inbound traffic, police are suggesting that people attending the fireworks arrive early to avoid confusion and use the designated parking spaces.
The only major change for inbound traffic is that Porter Road and Orchard Road will be closed from 8 p.m. until the end of the fireworks. Also, parking is forbidden along the streets near Beaver Stadium, along the Mt. Nittany Expressway, Route 220 (I-99) and Orchard Road.
Some major changes to traffic will be enforced for outbound traffic, beginning around 9:40 p.m. and continuing until outbound traffic has cleared.
From Beaver Stadium to North Atherton Street, Park Avenue will be one-way westbound, while from Beaver Stadium to Orchard Road, Park Avenue will be one-way eastbound. Also, Porter Road will be one-way southbound from Beaver Stadium to East College Avenue.
This year is the first year 4th Fest has incorporated a parade into the schedule. Because the parade is unprecedented, State College Police are staffing it like they would any other small event, according to Fishel.
The first-ever 4th Fest parade is scheduled to begin Wednesday around 2 p.m. at the State College Borough Municipal Building, 243 S. Allen St., where it will continue to East College Avenue, going East to Shortlidge Road.
The parade route then goes North on Shortlidge Road to Pollock Road where it will continue to Bigler Road. The parade will go North on Bigler Road and end at the Penn State Law Building.
State College Police will close off the parade route from all traffic and parking from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Police are also warning that motorists may experience traffic delays during this time period, but will put a detour into effect during parade hours. University Drive will serve as the detour route for people going Westbound on East College Avenue.
Parking restrictions will be enforced by both State College Police and Penn State University Police and both agencies will be ticketing or towing violators throughout the day.