Gulf Shores preps for Fourth of July crowds

GULF SHORES, Ala. (WALA) – With hundreds of thousands of people making their way down to Gulf Shores Friday night, traffic is certainly on the minds of many people.

“The good thing about Gulf Shores is we’re shooting fireworks from the barge 1000 feet off shore. Any of the condominiums, any of the beaches, you’ll have front row seats and so really we can take that number and we can spread it out over an eight mile stretch of Gulf Shores beaches and truly people will have a good front row seat,” Grant Brown, spokesman for the city, said.

And it’s the enticement of a 15 minute spectacle that will draw people down in droves. To compensate, the city will be flipping over to its evacuation system before and after the show.

“Inside the core area by Gulf Place, we’ll actually be barricading off some of the roadways so that as people leave, they’re going to be forced to the main roadways, to the main beach highway and to Highway 59 north and be able to push them out as quickly as possible to go north,” Brown said.

But even with some increased efficiency, it won’t be a cure all to all traffic woes.

“(There is) still going to be a lot of people, you’re still going to have to have some patience, but by utilizing that evacuation mode for our synchronized lights, it should move that traffic as far north as possible, as quickly and efficiently as possible,” Brown said.

As for pedestrians, barricades will be set up along Beach Boulevard between East and West First Streets.

“They’ll be forced to go to a controlled intersection where the lights will safely move them across the intersections, instead of playing Frogger, basically, and jumping in between cars and j walking to get across the street, which is extremely dangerous,” Brown said.

But still, everyone Fox10 News spoke with is excited for Friday night’s show.

“They come out with so many new designs and what they can do with them. Like sometimes they can do smiley faces. It’s cool,” Morgan Hambrithe, a native of north Alabama, said.

I’m excited this is going to be my first fourth of July in the south, so it should be a good time. I’m originally from California, so it should be a good time,” Chase Cortopass, a California native, said Thursday.

All of this tourism is creating a big boost in the economy for local businesses on Pleasure Island.

A manager at Mojo’s Seafood and Chicken in Gulf Shores, which is a fairly new restaurant to the area, told FOX10 News this has been their busiest weekend so far.

“Usually it’s just a lunch and dinner thing, now it’s all day long, constantly,” said Corey Fore, the manager at Mojo’s.

He says other local businesses in the area are seeing the popularity rise as well, noting that this is a busier summer than usual.

“Talking to the locals and other restaurant owners and stuff like that, they say it’s big, they say it’s one of the busier years,” said Fore, “It started off slow, but after Hangout Fest, it hasn’t slacked up any.”

City officials encourage those coming down to start early. Pre show entertainment starts at 6 p.m. and fireworks will go off at 9.

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