MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Closing the streets surrounding Target Center in downtown Minneapolis is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to President Donald Trump’s visit.

Other roads, interstates, and even the parts of the sky will be off limits at times. The fact that both President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are in town only amplifies those measures.

When entering MSP Airport, long lines and long faces don’t often surprise travelers. But a presidential visit could surely throw things for a loop.

“No planes are coming in, no planes are taking off,” said Patrick Hogan, spokesman for the Metropolitan Airports Commission.

That’s the procedure when Air Force One touches down and leaves. Departing flights will stay grounded, and those waiting to land will stay in the air up to 30 minutes. That process repeats since Vice President Pence will arrive separately. Then there’s the traffic around the airport.

“A lot of times the highways and roadways that the motorcade will be taking are closed down for a certain period of time for security reasons, and so if you’re trying to get to the airport during that time, you may be delayed,” Hogan said. “It’s important that people give themselves extra time if they are heading to the airport tomorrow afternoon, just in case they run into that.”

President Donald Trump exiting Air Force One during a Minnesota visit in October of 2018. (credit: CBS)

The delays could continue all the way to Target Center as the presidential motorcade navigates highways leading towards downtown Minneapolis. Vice President Pence will visit a business in Lakeville prior to the downtown event, creating its own closures along the interstate.

Although some closures are clearly marked with barricades, security expert Peter Beering say drivers should prepare to stop for sudden interruptions.

“Each one of these routes and potential alternate routes has to be secured, has to be monitored by active law enforcement in addition to the Secret Service,” Beering said.

He runs Beering Enterprises, Inc., which handles in part security consulting, including major events such as the NCAA Final Four and Indianapolis 500. He expects a large undercover law enforcement presence around Target Center for the president’s rally, as well as the planned protests nearby.

“Surveillance and monitoring kinds of activities that are put in place that are largely invisible to even a trained eye,” Beering said.

It can be a daunting task with such a high-population density downtown and in the greater Twin Cities area, but Beering feels the Minneapolis Police Department’s experience with large events should help everything run smoothly. He anticipates businesses downtown have also suggested employees leave early or work from home for the day if possible.

“That will go a long way towards blunting some of the inconvenience and frustration that tends to be associated with these sorts of events,” he said.

President Trump and Vice President Pence will arrive at MSP Airport between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Thursday, right during rush hour. Commuters who travel through that area are urged to plan accordingly.

Jeff Wagner

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