Access to the Capitol campus will be limited Thursday, as security officials funnel tens of thousands of people, including lawmakers and staff, through a series of checkpoints as they head to the Capitol for Pope Francis' address to Congress.
Two maps published on the website of Sen. Charles E. Schumer, the No. 3 Senate Democrat and Senate Rules and Administration Committee ranking member, shows 10 "congressional checkpoints" around the campus and four access points for guests with tickets to the chamber or the West Lawn. Guests will receive color-coded tickets that will direct them to one of four checkpoints. Gates are set to open at 5 a.m. Those with tickets to the West Lawn broadcast are directed to two entrances at the northwest and southwest corners of the Capitol campus.
"Ticketed guests should be prepared for dense crowds on Metro and other forms of public transportation," warns another notice on Schumer's website. The notice points out that a West Lawn ticket does not guarantee a guest will be able to actually see the pope's address on the "limited number" of jumbotrons, but "the space provides an opportunity for guests to be part of the overall experience."
All roads within a three-block radius of the Capitol will be closed for the pontiff's visit. The Capitol building will be closed to the public beginning at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, but is expected to reopen at 1 p.m. Thursday, after Pope Francis has left the grounds.
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