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Washington Braces for Massive Inauguration Day Turnout

From transportation plans to inauguration security details, D.C. officials are bracing for one of the biggest days in the city's history. Ray Suarez reports on the massive challenges organizers face and some of the problems involved in managing the crowds.

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  • RAY SUAREZ:

    As millions from around the nation prepare to hail the nation's new chief, the U.S. Marine Corps Band made its own final preparations this morning. The Marine Band has participated in 52 previous inaugurations, making its debut in 1801 for Thomas Jefferson, the first president inaugurated in Washington, D.C.

    Now the rest of Washington is putting on final touches on the 56th inauguration as well. There have been dress rehearsals with stand-ins, construction of the inauguration stage, crews bringing in portable toilets, some 5,000 of them from 10 different vendors.

    And there are 20 Jumbotron TVs being installed. And, with miles of fencing in place, there's evidence of the many security measures already put in place, with crews working through frigid temperatures.

    D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty showed off a replica of Air Force One in an inaugural visitor's center this morning and said his city is ready.

    ADRIAN FENTY (D), Mayor of Washington, D.C.: We have prepared for the biggest crowd that could fit on the Mall as somewhere between three million to five million people or so, if you count the parade route and the Polo Grounds. Crowds are just something you we just won't know, and not even just crowds, but how they will come to the city is important as well, because if everybody takes the buses and goes to our free range parking spaces, it will be a whole lot smoother than if a lot of people take their own personal vehicles.

  • RAY SUAREZ:

    More than just the National Mall and Pennsylvania Avenue must brace for expected crowds. Much of Center City, D.C., is involved in several days of special events.

    Fenty's city administrator, Dan Tangherlini, says Washington is uniquely qualified to take on such a big undertaking.

    DAN TANGHERLINI, Deputy Mayor of Washington, D.C.: No one actually puts on events more frequently and at this kind of magnitude than the District of Columbia. There's no one else who does it quite like we do. No one has to do it as much. No one's as practiced, in fact, the third highest traffic volume of any municipality, any major city in the country. So, we kind of put on this kind of stuff every day.

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