WASHINGTON — The road closures for next week’s inaugural events are expected to have a major impact on travel throughout the District.
Unlike the lead-up to President Barack Obama’s inaugurations, drivers will not have a weekend to acclimate to the closures for President-elect Donald Trump. Instead, roadblocks will go into place on downtown streets in the middle of a busy workweek.
The U.S. Office of Personnel Management expects significant traffic delays in the District, and is asking agencies to exercise their workplace flexibility options to allow federal employees to telecommute on Wednesday and Thursday. Friday, Inauguration Day, will be a holiday for all federal employees who work within the Inauguration Day area.
The master transportation plan compiled by the Presidential Inaugural Subcommittees lists more than 200 road, ramp and bridge closures scheduled to take effect throughout the day on Thursday. The restrictions and closures are summarized below:
- Wednesday 12 p.m. — Parking restrictions take effect downtown.
- Thursday 3 a.m. — Closures begin near Federal Triangle, Pennsylvania Avenue and the U.S. Capitol.
- Thursday 5 a.m. — Closures begin at Memorial Bridge, all of Independence and Constitution Avenues, etc.
- Thursday 7 a.m. — Travel restrictions (residents, business only) take effect throughout downtown areas.
- Friday 6 a.m. — 3rd Street Tunnel closes.
- Friday 12 p.m. — Closures near Convention Center begin.
- Friday 6 p.m. — Downtown tunnel, bridge closures clear.
- Friday 11 p.m. — Convention Center closures clear.
- Saturday 1 a.m. — Restrictions (residents, business only) are lifted
- Saturday 7:30 a.m. —National Cathedral closures begin.
- Saturday 12 p.m. — National Cathedral closures clear.
- Monday 1 a.m. —All downtown closures clear.
For specific road closures, see the Inauguration Day 2017 Survival Guide.
On Wednesday, Jan. 18, authorities will begin posting emergency no parking signs on streets downtown near the White House, Federal Triangle and Capitol. Unauthorized vehicles without a placard will be ticketed and towed beginning at noon.
Beginning at 3 a.m. on Thursday, road closures will be rolled out in stages beginning along Pennsylvania Avenue west of the Capitol. As the day wears on, police will continue to block streets through Federal Triangle, Judiciary Square and across the National Mall.
After 5 a.m. Thursday, a separate round of closures will be implemented near the Lincoln Memorial for a welcome celebration and concert. Two busy commuting routes, Constitution Avenue and Independence Avenue, will be closed between the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument. Inbound traffic on Interstate 66 from Virginia will be diverted onto the Potomac Freeway toward the Whitehurst Freeway by 10 a.m.
Also on Thursday morning, vehicle restrictions will be put into effect for locations as far away as K Street and Washington Circle, as many as five blocks removed from the web of closures downtown. Only residents or local business traffic will be permitted to flow into this restricted zone. National Guard personnel will assist with verifying traffic entering these areas.
Police will continue building out the closures along the parade route and along the Mall into the afternoon. Travel will become increasingly difficult on Thursday as more blockades are established. By early Friday morning, nearly all of the closures will be in effect. The 3rd Street Tunnel is scheduled to close at 6 a.m. on Friday.
For the inaugural balls, closures will be in place around the Washington Convention Center from noon to 11 p.m.
After crowds disperse following the parade, the closures of the expressways and some downtown arteries are expected to be lifted. This should happen around 6 p.m. The travel restrictions are scheduled to be lifted by 1 a.m. on Saturday morning. Some road closures near the White House, Federal Triangle and the Capitol will remain in effect through the rest of the weekend.
Parts of Massachusetts Avenue are scheduled to be closed near Union Station by early Thursday. More information about this event’s closures is expected to be released soon.
Interstate 395 across the 14th Street Bridge and Southwest Freeway will remain open throughout the week, but traffic will likely be heavy, with the exits to 14th Street SW and the 12th Street Expressway blocked by Thursday night.
The Key and Chain bridges will remain open, but traffic will likely be heavier than usual on Wednesday and Thursday.
Rock Creek Parkway will open north of Virginia Avenue. Drivers will be able to use the parkway to access the Roosevelt Bridge. Two-way traffic is scheduled to run on the parkway all day long on Thursday and Friday.
Massachusetts Avenue will remain open between Thomas Circle and Maryland. Portions of Massachusetts Avenue will be closed near Union Station and the Convention Center beginning on Thursday.