Florence police change exit routes for Spirit of Freedom celebration

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FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – A traffic change is coming for the thousands of people expected to attend the Spirit of Freedom celebration this weekend in the Shoals.

With three days left before thousands invade McFarland Park in Florence, police are preparing for a very challenging time. They have had to divert from the normal exiting plans at the park due to restoration work being performed on O’Neal Bridge.

Traffic is only able to travel in single lanes both north and south bound.

“With the bridge only being one lane, and due to the normal congestion we have anyway during the Fourth, it would take forever to be able to get across the bridge,” explained Sergeant Chris Ticer with Florence’s traffic division.

So to help people get home quickly and safely, event traffic will be taking another route.

Ticer said drivers will have a quick choice to make. Drivers can either turn west bound on Highway 20 or follow a route up Seminary Street and east on Veterans Drive towards Singing River Bridge.

Ticer said this is the only way to keep O’Neal Bridge from being backed up for hours.

“I know people get frustrated at us every year at the end of the event, but I promise you we’re trying to get you out as quickly as we can,” Ticer stated.

And Ticer said drivers should also pay special attention to pedestrians who are exiting the park on foot next to the roadways.

Normal traffic attempting to cross O’Neal Bridge will be allowed to cross during the Fourth of July Holiday weekend.