RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Hollywood could soon bring Richmond's holiday traffic to a halt. Nighttime street closings threaten the plans of thousands preparing to celebrate the holidays.
Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" film is about to move away from the Capitol, and approach the downtown Richmond streets. They're busy, and noisy...not exactly the kind of scene filmmakers are looking for.
"It's about, I think, a little bit of quiet on the set, in that area," said Dionne Waugh.
Waugh, with Richmond Police, says from now until mid-December, the crew has a permit to close East Broad and other downtown streets at almost any time, from morning until very late at night. Authorities say the closures will be brief, but unpredictable. The timing coincides with Thursday's opening of the downtown ice skating rink, and Friday's Grand Illumination at the James Center.
Alexander Dahm is with Venture Richmond.
"There is a lot of traffic, almost always, on Grand Illumination evening. And so I advise people to get there early," Dahm said.
Authorities are aware of all the other holiday-related events going on this week downtown, and they say they'll be working to keep the disruptions to a minimum.
"We're all working together trying to make it go as smoothly as possible for us, and for them, and especially for people who live and work in the city," Waugh added.
Thousands of people make the annual drive downtown to ring in the holidays. And with a film crew joining them, event organizers repeat this advice:
"I would say show up early, give yourself plenty of time so you can stay relaxed as you enjoy your evening," Dahm said.
Another thing to keep in mind, unrelated to the filming: The Downtown Expressway, coming into the city, will be down to three lanes at night...so if you're coming here from the suburbs that's another reason to allow yourself a little extra time.