July 4 road closure already in place in DC

The Fourth of July is still more than a week away, but road closures are already starting to take effect in the nation’s capital.

While widespread closures of main roads such as Constitution and Independence avenues won’t happen until July 4 itself, Ohio Drive has been shut down as part of the preparation.

“This is a single closure by the Martin Luther King Memorial,” said Mike Litterst, a spokesman with the National Park Service. “We’re starting to bring in equipment that will be needed for the Fourth of July.”

Ohio Drive, a popular place for people to park near the D.C. monuments, is now closed between West Basin Drive and the Inlet Bridge and will remain closed through July 8.

More information on future, related closures has been posted on the National Park Service website.

There will not be as many closures as usual, however, because the coronavirus pandemic led to the Independence Day Parade being canceled for the second year in a row.

The park service made that announcement in May, citing logistics and planning limitations, saying there wasn’t enough time to organize the massive celebration.

“The National Park Service and our partner, Diversified Events — who puts on the National Independence Day Parade with us every year — have come to the reluctant but necessary conclusion that we’ll have to cancel this year’s parade,” Litterst said.

Marching bands, drill teams and other youth organizations that participate in the event usually prepare anywhere from eight to 18 months in advance of parade day, according to the park service, and many have not had the opportunity to do so.

Others still are unable to travel due to COVID-19 concerns and restrictions.

“Unfortunately, without the military bands and the drill teams and the other youth organizations that are the backbone of the parade, we’ve decided to cancel this year’s parade and focus on next year’s already,” Litterst said.

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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