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New London - With tens of thousands of visitors to the city expected for this weekend's Sailfest, the message from Deputy Police Chief Peter Reichard is "just be patient."
Because of limited manpower, 30 fewer officers are available than in past years, Reichard said, and there will be some outlying roads leading into downtown that will go unmanned by officers who would normally be directing traffic there. Instead, there will be lighted signs on places like Broad Street to help visitors find their way to the highway.
But Reichard said he is confident there are enough officers to protect the public at all the major venues and direct traffic at major emergency egress routes.
In addition, Reichard said New London expects mutual aid from Waterford and other municipal departments with backup from state police should the need arise. Amtrak Police will be on hand at the train station and major railroad crossings.
Reichard said he expects every able-bodied officer at the department to be working this weekend and predicts a safe and fun event.
Parking for this weekend's event is available in municipal and private garages and on a first-come, first-served basis in legal spots on city streets.
Starting today, Bank Street will be closed from Tilley Street to State Street. State Street will be closed from Eugene O'Neill Drive to Water Street.
For more information, visit www.sailfestnl.org.