White House Fence Construction

White House fence rendering
Rendering of the new White House fence from Pennsylvania Avenue

NPS image

The National Park Service and United States Secret Service began construction on a new White House fence in early July 2019. Construction around the 18-acre White House complex will be completed in eight phases using over 3,500 feet of steel fencing. The two agencies have been working hand-in-hand since 2014 to develop an appropriate barrier that will keep the White House and grounds as accessible as possible to the public while ensuring the security of the White House and its occupants.

 
South Lawn Rendering
Rendering of the new White House fence from E Street

NPS image

What’s happening now?

Beginning on Aug. 21, 2019, the United States Secret Service (USSS) and the National Park Service (NPS) will expand the Pennsylvania Avenue NW closure in front of the White House. Pennsylvania Avenue will be closed from West Executive Avenue to East Executive Avenue for public safety during construction of the new fence. Lafayette Park, the north sidewalk of Pennsylvania Avenue, Jackson Place NW and Madison Place NW will remain open to pedestrians and cyclists.

As construction continues on the north section of the White House fence, heavy machinery and large vehicles frequently drive through Pennsylvania Avenue. The closure will be expanded to protect pedestrians and cyclists throughout the construction of the north portion of the fence, which is expected to continue through March 2020.

What will the new White House fence look like?

The current 6 feet 6 inch tall fence will be replaced by an approximately 13 feet tall fence with wider and stronger fence posts. The new fence incorporates anti-climb and intrusion detection technology and is designed to mitigate current and future security threats.

How will this affect my visit to the White House?

Scheduled tours of the White House will continue as planned. Visitors are encouraged to view the White House south lawn from the Ellipse throughout the Pennsylvania Avenue closure.

 
White House fence, 1861
White House, 1861

National Archives photo

Can I still bike or walk through the area?

Pedestrians and cyclists will generally still have access to travel through Lafayette Park and the north sidewalk of Pennslyvania Avenue.

How long will construction take?

Construction will take place in phases, beginning in the northwest corner of the White House grounds along Pennsylvania Avenue. Construction is expected to continue into 2021.

What will happen to the current White House fence?

The National Park Service will preserve some of the most historic features and sections of the fence in our museum collection. Some sections of the existing fence will remain in interior areas of the White House complex but the outermost perimeter fence that people are familiar with will be completely replaced.

How will this affect permits for demonstrations?

The National Park Service will continue to issue permits for demonstrations in Lafayette Park. Learn more about permits.

Has the White House always had a fence?

The design, materials and perimeter of the White House fence have evolved over the past two centuries. The first perimeter fence was a wood rail fence completed during Thomas Jefferson’s presidency. The wooden fence was replaced by a stone wall and later an iron fence. Paint analysis indicated that the earliest color of the north iron fencing may have been a deep forest green.

 

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    Last updated: August 20, 2019

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