Traffic headaches follow fireworks fun at beaches

2-hour delay leaving beaches Monday night leave some drivers frustrated

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – Fourth of July celebrations went off without major problems in Jacksonville and at the beaches Monday night.

A man was injured when he jumped off a balcony into a pool in Jacksonville Beach, and some arrests were made for drunk and disorderly conduct, but police said they were happy with how the evening went overall.

Most of those in attendance were happy, too -- until after the show.

It took some people close to two hours to leave the beaches because of standstill traffic along Third Street.

“I understand there was some traffic getting out, but what I think people have to realize is when all of these people are trickling in, that's the whole day,” Jacksonville Beach Cmdr. Mark Evans said. “Our fireworks show lasts about 20 minutes. By the time everyone is ready to leave, everyone is leaving at one time.”

Evans said for the most part, things were going well, but as the show ended, something happened.

“Unfortunately, right after the fireworks, in about 10 minutes, we had two crashes,” Evans said. “One was on Beach Boulevard with injuries. We got the fire department there on the scene. We had to clear the vehicles out of the roadway.”

The second accident was reported on J. Turner Butler Boulevard, which left Atlantic Boulevard as the only route to leave the beaches and head back to Jacksonville.

“I will tell you, all our officers, along with the sheriff’s office, Neptune and Atlantic beach, we did the best we could,” Evans said.

For the most part, people were patient and eventually the wrecks were cleared, Evans said.

Police said traffic is something to keep in mind when attending large events at the beach, like fireworks shows or the airshow.

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