Streets near SMU to close for Bush center ceremony

Posted Wednesday, Apr. 24, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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UNIVERSITY PARK -- While workers set up chairs and risers to accommodate the thousands expected Thursday at the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, police were getting ready to shut down streets around Southern Methodist University.

Trying to reduce traffic in the area -- and boost security for the high-profile event -- Dallas police are shutting down various streets starting about 6 tonight.

"The following closures may affect your normal travel," a police email said. "Please use the following list of street closures to plan your travel during this time."

The Bush center is on SMU Boulevard near the west frontage road of Central Expressway (U.S. 75). Significant closures include the Mockingbird exit at southbound Central, and the east and westbound lanes on SMU Boulevard at the expressway. Also, the southbound expressway service road from University to Mockingbird Lane will be closed from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday.

A slew of streets near the center will be closed from 6 tonight to 10 a.m. Thursday, including the southbound Jefferson Street viaduct crossovers, the northbound on-ramp to the Marsalis Avenue viaduct, the entry to Oak Farm off Marsalis Avenue north of First Street, the U-turn at the Marsalis Avenue and Jefferson Street viaduct, Addison Street at Marsalis Avenue and North Ewing Avenue and East Jefferson Boulevard at the Y and Oak Farms Dairy, according to Dallas police. Some closures stretch into Friday, including parts of SMU Boulevard and Bishop Boulevard.

Thousands of VIPs are expected for the dedication of the $250 million presidential center. The 11/2-hour outdoor ceremony is scheduled from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Another event to light Freedom Hall will be from 8:30 p to 9 p.m.

Officials have declined to detail plans for security, which was always going to be tight because of the presence of one current and four former presidents and their wives. But observers say security will be even greater after last week's bombing at the Boston Marathon, which killed at least three and injured more than 100.

Protesters have been gathering this week at a plot set aside on the opposite side of Central Expressway.

The center will open to the public May 1.

Anna M. Tinsley, 817-390-7610

Twitter: @annatinsley

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