- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 12, 2001

Getting into and around the District today will likely be a trying exercise in the aftermath of the first attack on Washington since the British set fire to the White House during the War of 1812.
Officials last night were trying to determine what roads will be closed today but said they are sure that driving anywhere near the Pentagon will be slow.
Parts of the George Washington Parkway and Washington Boulevard could be closed this morning as the FBI continues its investigation of the terrorist plane crash into the Pentagon. Interstate 395, which runs south of the Pentagon, was reopened at 3:30 p.m. yesterday and should remain open this morning, officials said.
Federal offices in the District will be open today, but an unscheduled leave policy is in effect, meaning federal workers can take leave without prior approval, the Office of Personnel Management said last night. The D.C. government also will be open today.
"We do not anticipate any disruptions nor do we have reason to believe that city government workers will be placed at risk as they return to work," Mayor Anthony A. Williams said.
D.C. Police Chief Charles Ramsey said the liberal leave for federal and D.C. employees will give them time to get the city back in order. "I don't think anything will be the same as yesterday," Chief Ramsey said. "I don't think anything will be the same again. There will never be another day like today."
All memorials on the Mall will be closed today. The Smithsonian museums will be open.
Area school officials in the District and Alexandria and in Fairfax, Arlington, Montgomery and Prince George's counties said all schools would be closed today.
Classes at the University of Maryland at College Park and Northern Virginia Community College are canceled today. Georgetown University will be open.
The Pentagon and National Airport Metrorail and Metrobus stations are expected to remain closed, and buses that normally serve the Pentagon will leave from Pentagon City.
Around other federal buildings, including the White House, streets could be closed if police believe there is a security risk. Police throughout the area are on 12-hour shifts.
The Pentagon will be open today except for personnel who work on corridors 2 through 6, which are closed because of severe structural damage caused by the blast.
Federal and D.C. courts will be closed to allow police officers expected to testify to remain on duty.
MARC and Virginia Rail Express commuter trains will be on special schedules today.
And the Maryland Transit Authority (MTA) said no commuter buses will go into Washington today. Instead, they will go to various Metrorail stations.
Even with the federal leave policy in effect, commuters should expect traffic to be slower and other motorists to be a little less patient, transit specialists said.
Some streets in the areas surrounding the Capitol, the White House, the State Department and some other federal buildings are temporarily closed at the directive of the Secret Service and the Capitol Police and may continue to be closed today.
Chief Ramsey said he was not sure whether Constitution Avenue between 15th and 17th streets would be open today.
"They need to get up early and check on their work status. They should leave a little early. The road infrastructure is fine, but there is a possibility of emergency equipment blocking the way," said Justin McNaull, a spokesman for AAA Mid-Atlantic. "It will be like a having a blizzard or hurricane happening with no warning."
Mr. McNaull said the traffic congestion after the government shut down yesterday was mainly caused by the large number of people on the road.
"It was volume, it was panic, it was emotions as a couple of hundred thousand people were trying to get out of the city," he said.
Mayor Williams said people should stay off the streets so emergency vehicles can get around town.
"I would like to ask our citizens to remain calm and get vehicles off the street as quickly as possible. Unless you are emergency personnel please stay at home or in your office," Mr. Williams said.
Virginia Gov. James S. Gilmore III said he was more concerned about responding to other attacks or emergencies while declaring the state of emergency.
"This statewide directive enables me to manage all of our emergency response resources in the most efficient and effective manner possible," he said. "We have responded rapidly to this crisis so far, and I want to make sure that we are in a position to continue doing so."
Metro spokeswoman Cheryl Johnson said ideally the Yellow Line will be allowed to cross the Potomac River this morning and service will continue. She said she was uncertain of the status of the bus and rail stations that serve the Pentagon, but the station that serves Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport will reopen today since airlines will resume flights at 11 a.m.
She said buses that normally serve the Pentagon will stop at the Pentagon City Metrorail exit. She said any other detours will be posted this morning on Metro's Web site, www.metroopensdoors.com.
The Division of Motor Vehicles offices at 301 C Street Northwest will remain closed to the public under further notice.
Jabeen Bhatti and Vaishali Honawar contributed to this article, which is based in part on wire service reports.


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