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Security changes in store for July 4th

Increased security measures are in effect for this year’s Fourth of July celebrations in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings. Several road closures take effect starting at 4 p.m. in contrast with 4:30 p.m. or 6 p.m. closures last July Fourth. Most notably, the Harvard Bridge will not be accessible to pedestrians or vehicular traffic from 4 p.m. until approximately 2 a.m. on July 5. Other 4 p.m. closures to vehicular traffic include Main Street between Third Street and the Longfellow Bridge; Ames Street between Main Street and Memorial Drive; Land Boulevard from Binney Street to the Longfellow Bridge; Charlotte’s Way; and Amherst, Wadsworth, Hayward, Carleton, and Dock Streets.The Longfellow Bridge will remain open to pedestrian and bicycle traffic after 4 p.m. only on the inbound (Cambridge to Boston) side.

For those planning to attend the celebrations along the Esplanade, several additional restrictions to allowed items and times of entry will be in place. Last year, items needed to be checked only when entering a lawn area on the Esplanade known as the Oval. This year, prohibited items not allowed anywhere on the Esplanade include coolers on wheels, backpacks, cans, pre-mixed beverages, alcohol, grills, and propane tanks. As with last year, glass containers, sharp objects, fireworks, and weapons are prohibited and will be confiscated.

The 4 p.m. deadline for passing through security checkpoints will be two hours earlier than in 2012, and applies to people bringing “allowable items.” Such items include pop-up tents or canopies without sides with an area no greater than 10’ x 10’ in size, blankets or tarps no more than 10’ x 12’ in size, folding/beach chairs, coolers which can be carried by shoulder strap or single handle (no wheels), personal items carried in clear bags, and small purses. After 4 p.m., only chairs or tarps and blankets no more than 10’ x 12’ in size will be allowed. The Boston Pops concert at the Hatch Shell, which also features other headlining artists, is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. with the fireworks following at 9:30 p.m. Have a happy Fourth!

—Alexander C. Bost