Downtown traffic likely will be congested throughout the day Friday with President Barack Obama in town.
The presidential motorcade and increased security could shut down roads between Columbia Metropolitan Airport and Benedict College before and after Obama speaks to students at the private, historically black college.
S.C. Highway Patrol spokesman Lance Cpl. David Jones said traffic could snarl in areas around the airport, Benedict and downtown Columbia. “Drivers can expect to see some sort of traffic congestion in those areas depending on which route the president decides to take,” Jones said.
The route the presidential motorcade will take typically is a last-second decision, he said.
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“There’s a lot of different routes they have lined up, and, for security reasons, those routes may not be determined until right before the president lands.”
Columbia drivers likely will not be able to avoid congestion around major corridors, including highways and interstates around the airport, and major highways around downtown, Jones said. “People just aren’t going to be able to avoid it.”
Traffic also could stall based on where Obama visits while in Columbia, including where he chooses to eat, Jones said.
“The president may land and decide to go to KiKi’s Chicken and Waffles,” Jones said, referring to the Two Notch Road restaurant in Northeast Richland that Vice President Joe Biden ate at when he was in Columbia two weeks ago.
That stop led to some complaints about traffic being tied up along Two Notch. Biden’s visit also closed down a portion of South Beltline Boulevard so the vice president could participate in an event at Owen Steel.