MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The preparations for this year's U.S. Bank Fireworks Show began last summer -- with the final touches coming Thursday morning -- ahead of the show that kicks off around 9:30 p.m. FOX6's LIVE coverage begins at 9:00 p.m.
It took five semis to bring in all the fireworks.
Over the last week, 16 workers from J&M Displays have spread the explosives over three barges in the Port of Milwaukee.
"Ready to see it all go off like it should. Hope there`s a good turnout and hope everyone enjoys it," Lead Pyrotechnician Tim Zurmuehlen said.
This is the fourth year the Iowa-based company has handled the U.S. Bank Fireworks display.
Zurmuehlen says the planning for the next year begins as soon as the show ends!
"Really, for each year, it starts the year right after the display because then we`re ordering our new product for the next year, trying to come up with new ideas to make the next show better," Zurmuehlen said.
Of course, most people who went down to the lakefront last year would sum up the show with one word: fog.
"Kind of a let down, because there was times on the barges where you couldn`t even see the barge down from you when it was firing its product," Zurmuehlen said.
In the days leading up to this year's show -- the fog returned to the lakefront.
"We were in discussions every day on whether we were gonna make alternate plans to move it," Zurmuehlen said.
Thankfully, the skies have cleared.
But before the show can begin with a bang -- there's a beep.
There are two controllers on each of the barges. All six of them have been programmed for the show well in advance.
"Typically, a show like this, we`ll try to script it in March or April so we can have it packed and all ready to go," Zurmuehlen said.
The pyrotechnics are all in place, the show is set, and the weather should cooperate.
"This is a good day for fireworks," Zurmuehlen said.
Around 3:00 p.m. Thursday, the barges moved out from the Port of Milwaukee to their launching spot -- on the lake near the Milwaukee Art Museum.
Zurmuehlen says lakes and rivers are his favorite place to launch from because that way, you can see the fireworks in the sky and the reflection off the water.
The Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office will be closing Lincoln Memorial Drive and the Hoan Bridge in stages on Thursday, July 3, to ensure the safety of the crowds at the lakefront for the fireworks display.
The Sheriff’s Office will partner with the Milwaukee Police Department and county Parks Department on crowd control and traffic mitigation.
Visitors hoping to park at lots accessible from Lincoln Memorial Drive should plan to arrive early.
Once parking lots are full, which has occurred as early as 6:00 p.m., Lincoln Memorial Drive will be closed to traffic.
Northbound traffic on the Hoan Bridge to westbound I-794 will be open during this phase, but the Lincoln Memorial Drive exit will be closed.
Eastbound I-94 exits to Jackson/Van Buren streets and southbound on the Hoan Bridge will be open.
During the second phase, at about 8:50 p.m., the Hoan Bridge will be closed in both directions, until the conclusion of the fireworks display.