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Bieber, Riverfest Could Make For Ugly Traffic Tonight

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HARTFORD — Thinking of spending a quiet summer night in Hartford Thursday?

Forget about it.

Hartford police are preparing for an influx of traffic, with thousands expected for the Justin Bieber concert at the XL Center and the rescheduled Riverfest fireworks on the Connecticut River.

Lt. Christopher Mefferd of the Hartford police traffic division said the department is preparing for a large influx of traffic, especially on State Street, Columbus Boulevard and the Founders Bridge. Nine officers will be managing traffic around the XL Center, where Bieber performs at 7 p.m., and 10 are assigned to the Riverfest area.

“It is unique, having both of those events at the same time; however, we do anticipate having far less turnout for the fireworks as opposed to a normal Riverfest due to the decrease in programming,” Mefferd said. Riverfest was rescheduled from July 6 and pared down to fireworks only after organizers determined that the Connecticut River rose too high for the safety of festival-goers.

State Department of Transportation spokesman Kevin Nursick said no matter the city’s efforts to minimize traffic, people should plan for delays.

“People need to be prepared, they need to plan ahead for traffic,” Nursick said. “That avoids the frustration, cutting through traffic and speeding. There will be more congestion in the area, no question about it.”

Text By Nicole Perez, Hartford Courant; Video By Jeevan Vittal, Fox CT

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