WASHINGTON — As the nation’s capital prepares to host the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump Friday, security officials and other organizers are hard at work transforming the National Mall for the occasion.
“There are nearly 30 organizations working together, starting with the leadership of the U.S. Secret Service,” said National Park Service spokesman Mike Litterst.
“From the Lincoln Memorial, all the way down the Mall, on Pennsylvania Avenue to Lafayette Park, we’re seeing the final preparations.”
There are speakers and Jumbotrons being put in place and miles of portable toilets being lined up. There also are numerous concrete barriers on the ground around the Mall along with a substantial amount of fencing that will help with security checkpoints and road blocks.
“Significant portions of the National Mall and other areas downtown are fenced off,” Litterst said.
Along Pennsylvania Avenue, and outside the White House, workers are putting the finishing touches on bleachers for guests that will be seated as well as the presidential reviewing stand.
The area around the Lincoln Memorial is being set up for the inaugural opening ceremony Thursday.
“There is a tremendous amount of work going on there right now, putting up the staging necessary for that event,” said Litterst.
Downtown parking restrictions will start as early as noon on Thursday. Then, starting around 3 a.m. Friday, work will begin to set up road closures in the “red zone” security perimeter. As the zone is cordoned off, drivers can expect the area to become more and more difficult to navigate. Cmdr. Jeffrey Carrol with D.C. Police said people parked in parking garages within the red zone should plan ahead.
“Those locations inside that red zone, there will be concrete dropped in front of those parking garages, or they will also be made inaccessible,” Carrol said.
When the barriers go in front of garages in the red zone, cars will be stuck inside them until the barriers are removed after the inauguration.