VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Leaders with the City of Virginia Beach say they’re expecting larger than normal Fourth of July crowds this year at the Oceanfront.

They expect the warm weather and recently lifted pandemic restrictions to draw unusually heavy crowds throughout the holiday weekend, especially on July 4.

With that in mind, city leaders want people to plan for the crowds during the Fourth of July Stars and Stripes Celebration at the Oceanfront and Mount Trashmore fireworks.

People are encouraged to arrive early to minimize traffic congestion. Visitors who arrive later in the afternoon should expect extremely slow-moving traffic. As crowds increase, a modified traffic plan for pedestrians will be put in place.

Starting at 7 p.m. on Sunday, July 4, vehicles traveling eastbound on I‑264 will be redirected westbound at Parks Avenue, according to Virginia State Police.

The eastbound exit at South Birdneck Road and the westbound exit at First Colonial Road will be closed.

Routes to the resort area that will remain open include Shore Drive and Laskin Road. This traffic diversion may be in place until around 11:30 p.m., city officials said.

The City has partnered with WAZE to provide real-time traffic updates.

In addition to the celebration at the oceanfront, a July Fourth fireworks show is being held at Mount Trashmore. State Police remind driver NOT to stop along the interstate to watch the fireworks.

There will be increased police patrols along Interstate 264 the night of July 4 to assist with traffic control.

For more information on parking and safety, call 311.

Virginia Beach public safety officials also want to remind those celebrating that fireworks in Virginia Beach are illegal.

Stay with for more Fourth of July updates.