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Contact: Brian Leary, USSS, 202-406-5708
Contact: Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles, NPS, 202-619-7177
(WASHINGTON) – Tomorrow, the United States Secret Service (USSS) and National Park Service (NPS) will begin implementing a series of new, temporary security enhancements and aesthetic improvements for the White House complex. These temporary measures are meant to satisfy security needs while a long-term solution is designed and implemented.
Work will begin with E Street NW, followed by the Ellipse, and finish with the White House complex fence. Work on the fence is expected to begin in early July. Both agencies will make every effort to minimize construction impacts to visitors.
After the Oklahoma City bombing and the September 11, 2001 attacks, the USSS implemented closures and increased security measures around the White House, including closing E Street, NW and the Ellipse to public vehicle access. Many of these security features used a combination of concrete “Jersey” barriers, planters, and fencing.
The new, temporary security measures to E Street, NW and the Ellipse provide enhanced protection for the White House, while improving the aesthetics at checkpoints. The temporary design solution for the White House complex fence is meant to improve security, while minimizing visual impacts and respecting the significance of the White House.
On May 8, work will begin on vehicle checkpoints on E Street, NW, starting at 17th Street followed, by 15th Street, and then at the Ellipse. Crews will rearrange existing officer booths on E Street, install a new officer booth at the Constitution Avenue entrance to the Ellipse, and update the vehicle checkpoints by replacing concrete barriers with mobile steel plate barriers which can be raised and lowered. These improvements are expected to be complete in early July.
A removable anti-climb feature consisting of sharp metal points will be installed on the top of the White House fence. The feature is meant to deter and inhibit individuals who may attempt to climb over the fence. Work is expected to begin in early July and take about four weeks. This temporary measure will be in place until a long-term solution is implemented.
Concurrently, the USSS and NPS are working with other federal agencies to develop a long-term design solution for the White House complex perimeter fence. Agencies have begun to review preliminary design concepts and will select a final design later this summer. The final design will be submitted to the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) and National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) in the fall of 2015 for review and approval. Construction is expected to begin in 2016.
The NPS and USSS are also moving forward with the President’s Park South Environmental Assessment (EA), which will address long-term security for the White House complex outside of the fence. The EA is expected to be completed by early 2016. Construction for these long-term measures should begin mid-2017.
Both the CFA, on April 16, and the NCPC, today, approved interim security enhancements proposed jointly by the USSS and NPS. We are appreciative of the thoughtful review and approval of the Commissions on these important security enhancements for the White House complex.
About the United States Secret Service: The United States Secret Service was originally founded in 1865 for the purpose of suppressing the counterfeiting of U.S. currency. Now an agency within the Department of Homeland Security, the USSS is widely known for its protective mission in safeguarding the nation’s highest elected officials, visiting foreign dignitaries, and events of national significance. Today, the USSS maintains a unique dual mission of protection and investigations, as one of the premier law enforcement organizations charged with investigating cyber and financial crimes.
About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 407 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities.
The National Park Service has cared for the White House and its grounds since 1933. President’s Park, which includes the Ellipse and Lafayette Park, was officially included in the national park system in 1961.