WASHINGTON — Security barriers started to come down and bridges began slowly reopening hours after President Joe Biden walked the streets of Washington D.C. following his inauguration ceremony on Wednesday.
Three bridges into the District — South Capitol Street Bridge, Sousa Bridge and 11th Street Bridge — have become less restricted, with a few limits still in place on vehicles entering the city.
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser's office announced late Wednesday afternoon that fences along 7th, 9th, and 12th Streets Northwest would be removed within a 36-hour time frame. The office also said some parking garages in the area would soon reopen to public and private use.
Most security will still be in place around the Capitol and White House over the coming days and weeks. 5,000 National Guard troops will be in DC until at least mid-March, according to officials.
All the security restrictions put into the place in the District took some getting use to for locals.
George Washington University students Lucas Cortelezzi and Ben Woodward walked through checkpoints set up near the White House during the inauguration.
"It was a little different, a little weird," Woodward said.
But the security left some D.C. residents with mixed emotions.
"On one hand, I felt secure," Cortelezzi said. "But, on the other hand, it's kind of worrying because I don't really like being constantly surrounded by security."
The Secret Service announced it arrested one individual for possessing unregistered ammunition at a checkpoint near 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW around 7:30 am.
The Metropolitan Police Department said it did not make any arrests related to the inauguration on Wednesday.
It is not known precisely how long heightened security will be in place in parts of the District. But there will still be thousands of National Guard troops in the area over the next month, according to D.C. officials.
The scaled-back security in the Nation's Capital caps off a contentious couple of weeks in D.C. following the Capitol riot on Jan. 6. And while things will be slightly more open starting Thursday morning, there will still be a heightened presence in the District.
The first added security to D.C. came in two noticeable forms, National Guard troops at the U.S. Capitol and barriers with barbed wire that separated the public from legislative buildings in downtown D.C.
Both security moves by local and federal authorities had a huge impact on the people of the region.
The 25,000 armed National Guard troops deployed to the District was an unprecedented sight for many in D.C. who are used to less stressful inaugurations. Legislators, local restaurants and D.C. families helped the troops by providing meals in the days leading to Inauguration Day.
Last Friday's traffic showed many what further preparation would look like in the days that lead up to Wednesday's inauguration, as D.C. bridges had been heavily restricted to commuters, and barriers across the city were put in place, with National Guard troops and law enforcement patrolling downtown checkpoints.
Bridge closings had a significant impact on Southeast D.C. communities in the lead up to Inauguration Day, which caused the Secret Service to change so of its closures.