14th St. Bridge Now Open to Foot Traffic on Jan. 20

Posted January 9, 2009 at 5:03pm

Updated: Jan. 12, 12:25 p.m.

Security officials decided to open up the 14th Street Bridge to pedestrian traffic on Inauguration Day after two Virginia lawmakers sent a letter to the Secret Service asking for more pedestrian access on Potomac River bridges.

The Secret Service had originally announced that pedestrians arriving from Virginia would only be able to walk over on the Memorial and Chain bridges.

But in a letter sent Friday, Virginia Reps. Jim Moran (D) and Gerry Connolly (D) argued that many Virginians had planned to walk to the inauguration. After inauguration officials acquiesced, they praised the decision.

“I appreciate that the Secret Service and inaugural officials have seen the benefit of opening the 14th Street Bridge to pedestrians on January 20th,” Connolly said in a press release. “It will make it just a bit easier for Northern Virginians to trek over the river to witness history.”

Driving is another story. All Potomac River bridges that lead into downtown D.C. will be closed to personal vehicles from 2 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Jan 20. During that time, only authorized vehicles, buses, taxis and limos will be allowed to cross.

Officials from the city and Secret Service have said that the closures are to ensure that the Mall, the parade route and the Capitol are clear of traffic. With record-breaking crowds expected, they also are cordoning off a large area of downtown Washington, D.C.

Moran and Connolly’s letter also asked that the Secret Service allow medical and hospitality staff to drive on the bridges. So far, security officials have not announced any changes on that front.