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Will President Trump arrive in Palm Beach at rush hour Friday?


On President Donald Trump’s previous four trips as president to his Mar-a-Lago Club, his arrival at Palm Beach International Airport has tied up traffic in the area, often for over an hour.

But with Air Force One slated to arrive in Palm Beach County sometime after 6 p.m. Friday, commuters could get some relief from the gridlock they’ve faced in the past.

» COMPLETE COVERAGE: President Donald Trump in Palm Beach

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer confirmed earlier this week in a briefing that Trump would travel to Palm Beach on Friday. But the timing of Air Force One’s landing is usually played close to the vest by the Secret Service.

Still, ahead of each visit, a hint is given in the form of temporary flight restrictions issued by the Federal Aviation Administration for the airspace over Palm Beach County. The restrictions issued Wednesday for Trump’s upcoming trip go into effect at 6 p.m. Friday, and end at 10:30 p.m. Sunday — but the president may leave the area anytime before that.

On past visits, Trump has arrived anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes after the restrictions go into effect, putting a possible arrival around 6:30 p.m.

Law enforcement officials shut down Southern Boulevard and adjoining north-south roads between PBIA and Mar-a-Lago from a few minutes before Air Force One lands until Trump’s motorcade has passed and the president is safely at his part-time Palm Beach home. The temporary closures lead to traffic tie-ups on Interstate 95, Australian Avenue, Dixie Highway and often Military Trail, as traffic trying to go east on Southern is held up.

Also Wednesday, the town of Palm Beach announced that the Secret Service-mandated road closure that goes into effect for the entirety of a Trump visit — South Ocean Boulevard is shut down from South County Road to Southern Boulevard — begins at 8 a.m. Friday and lasts through Sunday evening.

One of the reasons Trump’s departure from the White House may be later for this trip: German Chancellor Angela Merkel will visit the White House on Friday, a meeting that was rescheduled from Tuesday because of the snow storm that hit the Northeast this week.

Palm Beach County, state and town of Palm Beach officials have worked together to help ease the pain of drivers stuck in traffic on the island or in the area of the motorcade. Some of the steps they’ve taken:

Traffic signals: Palm Beach County Engineer George Webb’s team has a traffic signal timing plan to help reduce the time drivers spend trying to get in and out of Palm Beach.

Electronic message signs: FDOT will program its electronic message boards on I-95 and Southern Boulevard to warn drivers of the road closure near Mar-a-Lago.

Traffic cameras: Both state and county personnel keep an eye on the slew of closed-circuit cameras positioned around the motorcade route to watch for gridlock, tweaking signal timing as needed.

Royal Park Bridge: This span, which connects Okeechobee Boulevard in West Palm with Royal Palm Way in Palm Beach, serves as a primary route for people trying to get off the island after the Secret Service shuts down the road next to Mar-a-Lago. The Coast Guard restricts the bridge’s openings for several hours around Trump’s arrivals.

>> DONALD TRUMP IN PALM BEACH: Latest news, photos, videos



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