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Northern Virginia braces for road closures, added Inauguration Day security

People traveling between DC and Virginia can expect major re-routes and traffic delays, as the Secret Service closes most of the bridges connecting the two areas.

ARLINGTON, Va. — As security continues to tighten in and around the Capitol, neighboring northern Virginia communities are preparing for Inauguration Day.

The biggest impact for those who have to commute to and from DC this week will be bridge closures slated to take effect starting Tuesday at 6 a.m. until Thursday at 6 a.m. According to the new traffic details released by the Secret Service Sunday, there will be only two bridges open to traffic — the Key Bridge and the Chain Bridge.

The following are specific entry points that are open this week, according to the plan:

  • 14th Street Non-HOV Bridge — Remains open to all traffic until Jan. 19 at 6 a.m. through Jan. 21 at 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, westbound traffic will remain open. Traffic will be diverted north on Potomac Freeway.
  • Memorial Bridge — Open for northbound access around Lincoln Circle to 23rd only. Northbound lanes will have commercial vehicle restrictions but remain open to local traffic. Southbound traffic will flow normally, toward Maryland. 
  • 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 on 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.

“I work over the bridge in DC, so commuting it’s always going to take a little longer,” Mia, who lives in Rosslyn and works in DC said. “DC is kind of like a battleground, so even getting through the streets, there’s a lot of kind of redirecting of city traffic, and I think the whole city is on edge.”

Mia said she typically rides a bike or takes public transportation to work, so she is still figuring out a different route for the week.

Other northern Virginia neighbors plan to avoid the commute into DC altogether.

“I work for a retailer down in DC, and as consequence, they’ll be closed until after the Inauguration so I’m not going to be able to get to work this week,” Sarah Schulte, who lives in Arlington and works in DC, said.

Meanwhile, Arlington and Alexandria Police are readying their squads, although both said at this time, neither city has received any known threats.

Arlington PD said they are deploying more police resources to the county, some of which residents will be able to see on the streets — others that will remain hidden. A spokesperson for Alexandria Police said they will have enough staff to keep everyone safe.

“The concern is overall, what could happen here?” Alexandria PD spokesperson Amanda Paga said. “Our message continues to be we’re out there. We’re going to continue to protect our city, our people who live here, our community members, and we’re going to ask them to be our eyes and ears out there.”

Authorities in Arlington, Alexandria, and DC alike are espousing, “If you see something, say something.” Police said they will investigate any tips of suspicious groups or activities.

This switch to policing Inauguration week instead of enjoying is an unwelcome shift for some people, who were looking forward to celebrating a new chapter.

“I was very excited for inauguration instead of after the Capitol riots and the siege. It seems like it’s really put a damper on the mood in the city,” Mia said. “I think it’d be a time to be celebrating, and instead it’s a time that we’re shutting down.”

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