DC police chief: Entire department will be on duty for Fourth of July fireworks

D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee gives a press update on plans for the Fourth of July fireworks at Eastern Market on Thursday. (WTOP/Valerie Bonk)

The National Mall will be busy this weekend for the Fourth of July fireworks and D.C. police say they’re ready for it.

“We will ensure that the city is safe,” D.C. police Chief Robert Contee said during a briefing at Eastern Market Thursday.

He said that the entire police department will be working on Sunday for the Fourth of July fireworks.

And police won’t just be on the National Mall. They’ll be in surrounding areas, too.

“That’s very important to me, as well, to make sure that we have sufficient staffing in communities so that residents are safe in their neighborhoods,” Contee said.

He said that while there aren’t any specific credible threats targeting the District, authorities are paying attention as the holiday approaches.

“We’re the nation’s capital, right? So there’s always a threat that exists here, but any and everything that we see and everything that we hear, those are the things that we’re working with our federal partners to make sure that the citizens and visitors to the District of Columbia are safe,” Contee said.

One of the biggest issues is going to be getting to the National Mall.

“If you are planning on driving, please understand that many streets around the National Mall will be closed to traffic,” Contee said. “We would like to remind everyone to use safety precautions, common sense and good judgment.”

As for going through checkpoints to get to the National Mall, National Park Service spokesman Mike Litterst said there’s really only one place where visitors could be subject to inspection.

“On 14th Street west of Washington Monument grounds and the Lincoln Memorial, there are access points [and people are] subject to bag-search going through that,” Litterst said. “Otherwise, it’s business as usual.”

He said because the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival was canceled for in-person festivities this year, visitors won’t see many fences and barricades on Sunday.

Litterst added that this year they are launching the fireworks from the Reflecting Pool.

“You’re going to likely see less fencing because some of the events aren’t taking place this year,” Litterst said. “The cancellation of the [Independence Day Parade] has allowed us to eliminate a number of the street closures, and a number of the areas that would be fenced aren’t, except for the secure area footprint for the fireworks.”

But there will still be plenty of street closures. The full list is below.

Closed from 5 a.m. until about midnight on Sunday:

  • Constitution Avenue, NW from 23rd Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
  • Jefferson Drive, SW from 15th Street to 3rd Street, SW
  • Madison Drive, NW from 15th Street to 3rd Street, NW
  • Independence Avenue, SW from 17th Street to 3rd Street, SW
  • C Street, NW from 21st to Virginia Avenue, NW
  • C Street, NW from 18th Street to 17th Street, NW
  • D Street, NW from 18th Street to 17th Street, NW
  • E Street, NW from 18th Street to 17th Street, NW
  • 17th Street, NW from Constitution Avenue to E Street, NW
  • 18th Street, NW from Constitution Avenue to E Street, NW
  • 19th Street, NW from Constitution Avenue to E Street, NW
  • 20th Street, NW from Constitution Avenue to E Street, NW
  • 21st Street, NW from Constitution Avenue to E Street, NW
  • 23rd Street, NW from Constitution Avenue to E Street, NW
  • Virginia Avenue, NW from Constitution Avenue to 22nd Street, NW
  • Ohio Drive from Independence Avenue and West Basin Drive, SW
  • Parkway Drive from Ohio Drive and Lincoln Memorial Circle, SW
  • 15th Street, NW from Pennsylvania Avenue to Constitution Avenue, NW
  • 14th Street, NW from Pennsylvania Avenue to Independence Avenue, SW
  • 2nd Street, NW from Pennsylvania Avenue to Constitution Avenue, NW
  • 10th Street, NW from Pennsylvania Avenue to Constitution Avenue, NW
  • 3rd Street, NW from Constitution Avenue to Independence Avenue, SW
  • 4th Street, NW from Pennsylvania Avenue to Independence Avenue, SW
  • 6th Street, NW from Pennsylvania Avenue to Constitution Avenue, NW
  • 7th Street, NW from Pennsylvania Avenue to Independence Avenue, SW
  • 9th Street, NW from Pennsylvania Avenue to Constitution Avenue, NW

Closed for the fireworks from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.:

  • Theodore Roosevelt Bridge (TR Bridge) inbound to Constitution Avenue and Ohio Drive ramp (all traffic will be diverted to the E Street Expressway)
  • Eastbound E Street Expressway ramp to E Street, NW
  • E Street Expressway ramp from the TR Bridge
  • Henry Bacon Drive from Constitution Avenue, NW to Memorial Circle
  • Ohio Drive between Independence Avenue and West Basin Drive
  • Parkway Drive, NW between Ohio Drive and Lincoln Memorial Circle
  • Independence Avenue from 14th Street to Ohio Drive, SW
  • 23rd Street, NW (northbound) from Constitution Avenue to Virginia Avenue, NW (southbound 23rd Street, NW will be allowed to flow and access outbound TR Bridge)
  • Virginia Avenue from Constitution Avenue, NW to 24th Street, NW
  • 22nd Street, NW from E Street to Constitution Avenue, NW
  • 21st Street, NW from E Street to Constitution Avenue, NW
  • 20th Street, NW from E Street to Constitution Avenue, NW
  • 19th Street, NW from E Street to Constitution Avenue, NW
  • 18th Street, NW from E Street to Constitution Avenue, NW
  • 17th Street, NW from New York Avenue to Constitution Avenue, NW
  • 15th Street, NW from Pennsylvania Avenue to Independence Avenue, SW
  • Constitution Avenue, NW from 23rd Street to 14th Street, NW
  • Constitution Avenue, NW from 9th Street to Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
  • Jefferson Drive, SW from 15th Street to 3rd Street, SW
  • Madison Drive, NW from 15th Street to 3rd Street, NW
  • 12th Street Tunnel
  • 1200 block Maiden Lane, SW
  • 14th Street Bridge Inbound (all traffic will remain on eastbound I-395)
  • 14th Street Bridge (HOV) Inbound (all traffic will remain on eastbound I-395)
  • Maine Avenue, SW from I-395 (westbound) to Independence Avenue, SW (all traffic will remain on westbound I-395)
  • Southbound Potomac River Freeway split to Route 66 (all traffic to outbound Route 66)
  • Arlington Memorial Bridge
  • Southbound Rock Creek Parkway will be closed at Virginia Avenue, NW

Closed from about 1 p.m. to 11 p.m.:

  • 14th Street, NW from Pennsylvania to Independence Avenue, SW
  • 7th Street, NW from Pennsylvania Avenue to Independence Avenue, SW
  • 4th Street, NW from Pennsylvania Avenue to Independence Avenue, SW

The following streets are expected to remain open, but may be closed for public safety:

  • 12th Street, NW from Pennsylvania Avenue to Constitution Avenue, NW
  • 10th Street, NW from Pennsylvania Avenue to Constitution Avenue, NW
  • 9th Street, NW from Pennsylvania Avenue to Constitution Avenue, NW
  • 9th Street Tunnel

The 3rd Street Tunnel will remain open for travel in and out of the city.

The following street will be closed and posted as “emergency no parking” for the Barracks Row Parade from approximately 8 a.m. to noon:

  • 8th Street, SE from Pennsylvania Avenue to Virginia Avenue, SE

The following streets will be closed for the Barracks Row Parade from about 8 a.m. to noon:

  • E Street, SE between 7th Street and 9th Street, SE
  • G Street, SE between 7th Street and 9th Street, SE

The following street will be closed and posted as “emergency no parking” for the Palisades Parade from approximately 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.:

  • MacArthur Boulevard, NW from Whitehaven Park to Edmunds Place, NW

More Fourth of July News

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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