Much of the National Mall is set to close to the public ahead of Inauguration Day in Washington, D.C., another security crackdown as armed men and women in military uniforms guard streets, federal buildings and monuments including the Lincoln Memorial.
The U.S. Secret Service released an updated public access map including an expanded perimeter and new street closures effective Jan. 17. Several bridges between D.C. and Virginia also will be closed.
Businesses have boarded up their windows near the zone of closed-off streets where President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are set to be inaugurated on Wednesday.
Several Bridges Between DC and Virginia Closing
Several bridges between Washington, D.C., and Virginia will be closed for the inauguration next week.
The National Parks Service and U.S. Park Police said Arlington Memorial Bridge was shut down in both directions at 6 p.m. Friday and will remain closed through at least 6 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 21.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, and U.S. Reps. Don Beyer, Gerry Connolly, and Jennifer Wexton, all Democrats, announced that in an agreement between Virginia and the U.S. Secret Service, Theodore Roosevelt Bridge, Interstate 395 Bridge and 14th Street Bridge will be closed to vehicles and pedestrians in both directions from 6 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 19, through 6 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 21.
This leaves the Chain Bridge and Key Bridge as the only ways to cross between D.C. and Virginia. The Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge between Alexandria and Prince George's County will also remain open.
“The 2021 Presidential Inauguration Ceremony will see the strongest Capital-area security response in history,” the Virginia Democrats said in a statement Friday evening. “We worked together to push for a response that balances protecting public safety in a manner commensurate with available intelligence about threats without going too far. It is very important now that the U.S. Secret Service and its partner agencies communicate road and bridge closures swiftly and clearly in order to keep disruptions to a minimum. All of us want the transfer of power to be as peaceful as possible, and we thank all of the men and women in uniform helping to make this historic occasion safe.”
Virginia State Police will assist the Secret Service in closing the bridges over the Potomac RIver.
The Virginia Department of Transportation says the Beltway will not be effected by any inauguration closures.
Eastbound traffic on Interstate 66 will be diverted at Route 110/Exit 75.
On Interstate 395,northbound traffic will be diverted at the George Washington Memorial Parkway/Exit 10B, and when the express lanes are northbound, all traffic will be diverted into the main lines near Edsall Road.
Ramp and bridge closures:
- I-395 NB Express Lanes (Rochambeau Memorial Bridge)
- I-395 NB main lanes (Arland Williams, Jr. Memorial Bridge)
- I-395 NB Express Lanes slip ramp from the main lanes (last left-side slip ramp in Virginia also known as “Ramp G”)
- I-395 NB main lanes will be diverted at GW Parkway exit
- I-395 NB Express Lanes will divert to the main lanes near Edsall Road
- Route 1 NB from Reagan National Airport (DCA) to I-395 NB (Arland Williams, Jr. Memorial Bridge)
- Eads Street NB ramp to I-395 NB Express Lanes
- OPEN: I-395 SB (George Mason Memorial Bridge)
- I-66 EB at the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Bridge closed; all traffic diverted to Route 110 SB
- Route 50 EB ramp to I-66 EB
- GW Parkway SB ramp to I-66 EB
- GW Parkway NB ramp to I-395 NB
- GW Parkway SB ramp to I-395 NB
Trump Supporters Among Those Seeking Jan. 20 Protest Permits
Supporters of President Donald Trump are among a handful of groups that have applied for permits to hold protests during Joe Biden’s inauguration, The Associated Press reported.
But it appears unlikely their application will be approved as the National Park Service greatly curtails freedom of expression during a major pre-inauguration security lockdown.
The Department of Interior had fended off calls from D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and others to simply cancel all demonstration permits. But the park service says two groups had been approved to hold small limited demonstrations in specific locations, a pair of leftist organizations.
DC Police Have 'All Hands on Deck,' Chief Says
Numerous agencies including the Metropolitan Police Department, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Park Police, U.S. Capitol Police and National Guard are working to secure the District before Inauguration Day, with the assistance of officers from eight other cities.
MPD has "all hands on deck" and the massive force of federal agents and National Guard troops will allow local police to keep a presence in neighborhoods throughout D.C., Police Chief Robert Contee said at a press conference Friday.
“Our officers can focus on keeping D.C. safe from any aspects of crime, including these extremist groups that have attacked our capital," Mayor Muriel Bowser said.
Contee and Matt Miller, Special Agent In-Charge of the United States Secret Service Washington Field Office, both reiterated there is a lot of "chatter" about potential violence online but didn't detail any specific threat to the inauguration, city or residents.
"I can assure the residents of the District of Columbia that the Metropolitan Police Department and our federal partners are in a posture to respond to the to the information that's out there thus far that we've heard," Contee said.
Security downtown is divided into two zones, authorities said. The "red line" is fenced and anyone attempting to enter should expect to show ID and agree to a search, even if they are headed to work or home. The "green line" has a soft perimeter and won't be locked down as severely, but authorities may still ask for identification or to search vehicles.
Outside those zones, Contee said there won't be extra searches of vehicles entering the city. However, D.C. police are on high alert for weapons, he said.
Bowser indicated some enhanced security measures could stick around past Inauguration Day, describing it as a "new normal." She said the fence surrounding the Capitol may remain up for some time to free up officers and help ensure the peaceful transition of power.
Maryland Governor Declares State of Emergency for Inauguration
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency for the presidential inauguration next week, The Associated Press reported.
The Republican governor also made a request on Friday for a presidential disaster declaration to reimburse the state for costs incurred due to last week’s response to the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
The state of emergency will allow the state to better coordinate support and provide assistance to local jurisdictions within Maryland and neighboring states.
Hogan also is seeking support for the days leading up to, and including, the inaugural ceremonies.
'Core Areas' of National Mall to Close Through Inauguration
“Core areas” of the National Mall closed to the public Friday morning and will remain off-limits through at least Thursday, Jan. 21, the National Park Service announced.
Two zones will remain open for permitted demonstrations near the U.S. Navy Memorial and John Marshall Park. Anyone coming to demonstrate will undergo a security screening and be escorted to the permitted location, the National Park Service said.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser asked federal authorities this week to cancel permits for First Amendment demonstrations around Inauguration Day in the District due to a heightened security threat.
The National Park Service says permitted activities will be allowed in designated locations and demonstrations will be "limited in number."
Permits weren't available to News4 early Friday afternoon, but the demonstrations will be allowed about 100 people each, said Jeff Reinbold, Superintendent of the National Mall and Memorial Parks. He wouldn't name the groups but said they have demonstrated in D.C. before.
The National Park Service said it cooperated with Bowser, D.C. police, the U.S. Secret Service and others in planning.
The U.S. Secret Service released an updated public access map effective Jan. 17 – 21. The following updates were issued:
- 14th Street Non-HOV Bridge – Remains open to all traffic until Jan. 19 at 6 a.m. through Jan. 21 6 a.m. All traffic diverted to I-395.
- 14th Street Bridge HOV (North and South) – Remains open to all traffic until Jan. 19 at 6 a.m. through Jan. 21 at 6 a.m.
- Theodore Roosevelt Bridge – Remains open to all traffic until Jan. 19 at 6 a.m. through Jan. 21 at 6 a.m. Following closure, west bound traffic will remain open. Traffic will be diverted north on Potomac Freeway.
- Memorial Bridge – Open for northbound access around Lincoln Circle to 23rd only. Southbound traffic may enter the Lincoln Circle from 23rd St. to access Memorial Bridge. All access is scheduled to be closed Jan. 19 at 6 a.m. through Jan. 21 at 6 a.m.
- Key Bridge – Remains open until Jan. 19 at 6 a.m. through Jan. 21 at 6 a.m. Following closure, no access to Whitehurst Freeway and no right turn will be permitted on M St. All traffic must turn left on Canal St.
- Chain Bridge – Open to all traffic.
- South Capitol Street Bridge on the 295 side – Remains open to all traffic until Jan. 19 at 6 a.m. through Jan. 21 at 6 a.m. Following closure, northbound traffic will be closed and southbound traffic will remain open.
- Southeast/Southwest Freeway – Closed.
- Potomac River Parkway – Open Northbound, closed Southbound from Jan. 16 at 6 a.m. through Jan. 21 at 6 a.m. Access to Theodore Roosevelt Bridge remains open.
- Rock Creek Parkway at Ohio Drive – Closed.
- 11th Street Bridges – Remain open to all traffic until Jan. 19 at 6 a.m. through Jan. 21 at 6 a.m. Following closure, northbound traffic will be closed and southbound traffic will remain open.
- 695 Bridge/Southeast Freeway – Remains open to all traffic until Jan. 19 at 6 a.m. through Jan. 21 at 6 a.m.
- Sousa Bridge – Remains open to all traffic until Jan. 19 at 6 a.m. through Jan. 21 at 6 a.m. Following closure, northbound traffic will be closed and southbound traffic will remain open.
- 3rd Street Tunnel – Remains open with all exits closed. The tunnel will close Jan. 19 at 6 a.m. through Jan. 21 at 6 a.m.
- 9th Street Tunnel – Closed to all traffic.
- 12th Street Tunnel – Closed to all traffic.
- E Street Tunnel – Closed from Potomac River Freeway northbound and southbound.
- Independence Ave/Maine Ave from 12th Street, SW to Memorial Bridge – Closed to all traffic.
The new map also expands the list of street closures listed by the National Park Service on Friday:
- 10th St NW from F St NW to Constitution Ave NW (Red Zone)
- 11th St NW from F St NW to Pennsylvania Ave NW (Red Zone)
- 12th St NW from F St NW to C St SW (Red Zone)
- 13 ½ St NW from Pennsylvania Ave NW (Red Zone)
- 13th St NW from K St NW to Pennsylvania Ave NW (Red Zone)
- 14th St NW from K St NW to C St SW (Red Zone)
- 15th St NW from K St NW to Independence Ave SW (Red Zone)
- Raoul Wallenberg Pl SW from 15th St. SW to Maine Ave. SW
- 16th St NW from K St NW to H St NW (Red Zone)
- 17th St NW from N St NW to K St. NW
- 17th St NW from N St NW to Independence Ave SW (Red Zone)
- Rhode Island Ave. NW from Bataan St. NW to N St.
- Rhode Island Ave. NW from Bataan to Connecticut Ave. NW
- M St. from 18th St. NW to Connecticut Ave. NW
- M. St. from 18th St. NW to 17th St. NW
- Connecticut Ave. NW from Jefferson Pl NW to K St. NW
- Desales St. NW from Connecticut Ave. NW to 17th St. NW
- L St. NW from 17th St. NW from 16th St. NW
- 17th St. NW/Connecticut Ave from K St. NW to H St. NW
- 17th St. NW from H St. to Independence Ave.
- 18th St NW from K St NW to Constitution Ave NW (Red Zone)
- 19th St NW from K St NW to Constitution Ave NW (Red Zone)
- 1st St NW from D St NW to Constitution Ave. NW
- 1st St. NE/SE from Mass. Ave to North Carolina Ave. SE
- 2nd St SW from Washington Ave SW to E St SW
- 3rd St NW/SW from Mass. Ave/H St. NW to E St SW
- 4th St NW from H St NW to D St NW
- 4th St NW from Pennsylvania Ave NW to C St. SW
- 5th St NW from H St. NW to D St. NW
- 6th St NW from G St NW to Constitution Ave NW
- 6th St. SW from Independence Ave. SW to C St. SW
- 7th St NW from F St NW to C St. SW
- 8th St NW from F St to D St NW
- 9th St NW from F St NW to Capitol Square Pl SW
- C St NW from 19th St NW to 17th St NW
- C St NW from 6th St NW to 3rd St NW
- C St. SW from 14th SW to 12th SW
- C St. SW from 6th St. SW to 2nd St. SE
- C St SW from 14th St SW to 2nd St SW/SE
- Constitution Ave NW from 23rd St NW to 2nd St. NE
- D St NW from 18th St NW to 17th St NW
- D St NW/NE from 9th St NW to 2nd St. NE
- D St SW from 4th St SW to 1st St. SE
- Daniel French Dr NW from Lincoln Memorial Circle NW to Independence Ave NW
- E St NW from 19th St NW/E St Expy to 3rd St NW
- F St NW from 15th St NW to 12th St. NW
- F St. NW to 6th St. NW to 3rd St. NW
- F St NW from 19th St NW to 17th St NW
- F St NW from New Jersey Ave NW to N Capitol St NW
- G St NW from 15th St NW to 12th St NW
- G St NW from 19th St NW to 17th St NW
- G St NW from 6th St NW to 3rd St NW
- H St NW from 19th St NW to 12th St NW
- Henry Bacon Dr NW from Lincoln Memorial Circle NW to Constitution Ave NW
- Home Front Dr from 17th St NW to Independence Ave SW
- I St. NW from 19th NW to 12th St. NW
- Independence Ave SW from 17th St NW to Washington Ave SW
- Independence Ave. SW/Kutz Bridge from 23rd St NW to 15th St SW
- Independence Ave. SW from Ohio Dr. SW to 17th St. SW
- 23rd St. SW at Independence Ave. SW
- Indiana Ave NW from 7th St NW to D St NW
- Jefferson Dr SW from 15th St SW to 3rd St SW
- K St NW from 19th St NW to 12th St NW
- Louisiana Ave NW from Constitution Ave NW to Mass. Ave. NW
- Madison Dr NW from 15th St SW to 3rd St SW (Red Zone)
- Maine Ave SW from 12th St SW to Kutz Bridge
- New Jersey Ave SE from Independence Ave SE to E St SW (Red Zone)
- New York Ave NW from 15th St NW to 12th St NW (Red Zone)
- Ohio Drive SW from Ohio Dr. Bridge to Rock Creek Pwky (Red Zone)
- Pennsylvania Ave NW from 15th St NW to 3rd St NW (Red Zone)
- Pennsylvania Ave NW from 19th St to 15th St NW (Red Zone)
- Raoul Wallenberg Pl SW from Independence Ave SW to Maine Ave SW (Red Zone)
- S Capitol St SE from Independence Ave. SW to E St SE(Red Zone)
- Virginia Ave NW from 19th St NW to Constitution Ave NW(Red Zone)
- Washington Ave SW from Independence Ave SW to E St SW(Red Zone)
- Washington Ave SW from Independence Ave SW to S Capitol St SE (Red Zone)
Extra fencing, security checkpoints, blocked-off streets and closed Metro stations show how downtown D.C. is fortifying ahead of Inauguration Day — rather than preparing for a massive public ceremony usually seen on the National Mall.
Still, there are signs of celebration: Crews have unfurled huge banners, including two overlooking Freedom Plaza that say, "Welcome Mr. President!" and "Welcome Madame Vice President."
Photos: Tensions Run High as DC Increases Security Ahead of the Inauguration
Heightened security measures were put into place after Jan. 6, when a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters overwhelmed U.S. Capitol Police and a crowd of rioters breached the building.
Five people died, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, and many more police officers were injured in the chaos. One described it as "brutal, medieval-style combat."
The Federal Bureau of Investigation warns that more violence is possible.
Inauguration Rehearsal Rescheduled Over Security Concern
An inauguration rehearsal, previously scheduled for Sunday, was postponed due to security concerns over talk of armed marches next week, NBC Washington reported.
Events in state capitals on Sunday appear to be promoted by supporters of the anti-government, pro-gun “boogaloo” movement. Boogaloo followers advocate for a second civil war or the collapse of society, and they don’t adhere to a coherent political philosophy.
The inauguration rehearsal is now planned for Monday.
FBI Monitoring Online Threats to Inauguration Events
Military and intelligence officials briefed Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday, outlining their coordinated security plans.
“We are committed to an orderly transition into a safe inauguration, and the American people deserve nothing less,” Pence said.
FBI Director Christopher Wray said the FBI is working with partners to evaluate threats in D.C. and at state capitols nationwide, including “extensive online chatter” about several inaugural events.
“We're monitoring all incoming leads, whether they're calls for armed protests, potential threats that grow out of the January 6th breach of the Capitol, or other kinds of potential threats leading up to inaugural events,” Wray said, according to NBC News.
The number of National Guard troops coming to Washington to assist with security has so far grown to about 21,000, Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said at the briefing.
Metro Closes Stations Downtown
Metro is also taking precautions and has begin to close several stations, WMATA says.
As of Friday, these stations are now closed: Farragut North, Judiciary Square, Union Station, Archives, Arlington Cemetery, Farragut West, McPherson Square, Federal Center SW, Capitol South, Smithsonian and Federal Triangle.
On Saturday, the Metro Center and Gallery Place stations will close.
The Pentagon Station will be closed on Inauguration Day only.
“Just given all the uncertainties around these issues, please stay away from downtown,” Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said.
The warnings and closures signal how the Biden inauguration will be drastically different than any other in living memory, as the District grappled with a pandemic and this month’s shocking collapse of security in the U.S. Capitol.
For comparison, more than a million people rode Metro during President Barack Obama's first inauguration. That day — Jan. 20, 2009 — remains the busiest day in Metro's history.
This year, officials debated whether the National Mall should be closed to the public.
Drivers will see an impact, too, with numerous streets closed downtown and extra safety precautions are in place throughout the District.
Most Major US Airlines Ban Guns in Luggage for DC Flights
Airlines and airports say they are stepping up security before next week's presidential inauguration, with Delta and other major airlines saying they will prohibit passengers flying to the Washington area from putting guns in checked bags, CNBC reports.
Delta Air Lines was the first to announce Thursday that it will prohibit checking guns on flights to Washington-area airports and was followed later in the day by United, Alaska, American and Southwest. All said their bans will start Saturday and continue until Jan. 23.
"We are all on high alert based on the events over the last couple weeks up in Washington,″ Delta CEO Ed Bastian said Thursday on CNBC.