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Inauguration to Close Bridges and Highways

Crossing Roosevelt Bridge, looking across traffic toward Memorial Bridge.
Crossing Roosevelt Bridge, looking across traffic toward Memorial Bridge.
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Traffic restrictions are broader and more widespread in downtown Washington than in the past because city officials have set aside parking for 10,000 charter buses.

Parking and private vehicle access in those areas will be banned from 12:01 a.m. to 7 p.m. Jan. 20. Residents of the restricted zone must show a driver's license to drive into it.

Restaurants and hotels in that area have been preparing plans to bring in supplies and get their employees to work. At Vidalia restaurant on 19th Street NW, executive chef R.J. Cooper said employees have been instructed to take Metro and to allow an extra hour for travel.

The restaurant is purchasing its farm-fresh produce on Saturday and Sunday and working with fishmongers along the Eastern Seaboard to get deliveries through Monday evening before midnight. Cooper and the restaurant's general manager, Michael Nevarez, both of whom live in Virginia, will sleep overnight at the restaurant. Getting to downtown Washington by car from Virginia "is going to be a mess," Cooper said.

At the Mayflower Hotel, all 20 walk-in freezers and refrigerators will be stocked with extra meat and other provisions; the 657-room hotel, which is fully booked Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, is also bringing in a refrigerated trailer that will be parked in the hotel alley, according to General Manager Satinder Palta. The hotel has also laid in 1,200 cases of wine and champagne (valued at about $125,000). And housekeeping will have three times the number of linens and towels it normally needs by Monday, Jan. 19, because it won't be able to receive deliveries Tuesday from its central laundry in Crystal City. That comes out to 7,000 bath towels alone.

"It's going to be a very creative experience for these hotels," said Emily Durso, president of the Hotel Association of Washington, D.C. "They have to be completely staffed for all three shifts."

Porcari said that special inaugural ticket packages on MARC trains are sold out on the Penn and Camden lines but that 700 tickets are available on the Brunswick Line. Maryland will also run transit buses from park-and-ride lots across the region to Metrorail stations; 9,000 tickets are available.

The Smithsonian and Archives-Navy Memorial stations will be closed all of Inauguration Day. Metro plans to have special priority bus routes running. It is also running extra rail cars.

In Virginia, officials are trying to figure out ways to open park-and-ride lots so residents can take buses into the city for the festivities. They are also talking to suburban bus systems about providing service.

Regional officials are trying to plan for different contingencies, such as a snowstorm. In Virginia, road officials will treat all roads and commuter lots regardless of the weather forecast and will have 40 safety patrols and seven tow trucks in position.

Staff writers Sandhya Somashekhar and Theola Labbé-

DeBose contributed to this report.


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