Street closures and tight security on eve of President Obama's arrival


President Obama will be in Springfield on Thursday to celebrate Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday.

Tickets to the annual Abraham Lincoln dinner were sold out long before President Obama announced he'd be attending. So now it's the hottest ticket in town.

"It's been sold out for quite some time," said Dave Blanchette, of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. "The banquet capacity is 900 and that's how many tickets were sold.  The overflow room we only had 300 available, those have long since been sold out, so there just are not any more tickets available for this event."

With a tight schedule and even tighter security, getting a glimpse of President Obama may be difficult for the general public.

"Only confirmed banquet ticket holders will be able to get in, or anywhere near, this event," Blanchette said.

With all those guests, parking will be at a premium.

Blanchette said "People can try to park at the Crowne Plaza if they wish, but we anticipate that that's going to fill up right away. The overflow parking is at the Secretary of State's office and then at the Illinois Department of Transportation on Dirksen Parkway. And there will be checkpoints along the way where only people who are on a list as being a valid banquet ticket holder or a valid volunteer or a performer at the banquet will be able to get past a certain point. So if your name's on the list you can go on further, pick up your tickets inside the crown plaza.  If your name's not on the list you won't be granted access."

Driving and parking will be limited at times tomorrow in Springfield. People will not be able to stand along Dirksen Parkway to get a peek of the President. The city says to avoid Dirksen Parkway between 2:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. tomorrow and access between Horizon and Stevenson Drive will also be limited.

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