PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) — President Donald Trump’s visit to Pittsburgh today is closing down roads and a dozen schools.
Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert is advising residents and employees to leave early, work from home if they can and expect heavier than normal traffic.
The president is speaking this afternoon at an annual Marcellus Shale Coalition’s Insight Conference, being held at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. The White House says the speech is open to the public.
WATCH: Air Force One Arrives In Pittsburgh —
Then-candidate Trump spoke at the conference in 2016.
President Trump is expected to tell the conference that he’s kept his promises, noting in 2016 he was “talking about how he was going to end the war on American energy,” recalled Meghan Burris, a special assistant to the President.
Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, of Pennsylvania, released a lengthy statement on the president’s visit. It reads in part:
“I wanted to give my welcome to the President of the United States. He’s going to be in Pittsburgh today. It is always the case that I welcome a sitting American president to visit our great state.
“I am delighted that President Trump is going to be here but I am equally pleased that he is going to be stressing just how tremendously constructive it has been that we have been able to develop the natural gas that we have in Pennsylvania. This has been one of the greatest economic booms for Pennsylvania and for American in decades.
“It’s very hard to overstate how good the development are of horizontal drilling and the fracking technology that has brought unbelievable amounts of natural gas. Pennsylvania alone produces now 20 percent of all the natural gas in America. Only Texas produces more natural gas than we do. There are few countries anywhere in the world that produce as much natural gas as we do in in Pennsylvania.”
Republican Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, of Pennsylvania, will be attending the conference to hear the president’s speech. In a statement, he said:
“I’m honored to join President Trump as he visits the hardworking men and women who are driving innovation in the American shale energy industry. The president has been a tireless supporter of Pennsylvania energy, and thanks to his leadership, we are seeing tremendous job creation and unprecedented wage growth. Natural gas production, and the jobs that go with it, continue to thrive under the pro-growth policies of the Trump Administration. Oil and natural gas production in Pennsylvania isn’t just about energy, it’s also about the jobs in industries like plastic manufacturing that go with it.
“The Trump Administration and I continue to stand up against Democratic calls to ‘ban fracking’ and implement policies like the ‘Green New Deal,’ both of which would devastate our local economy and force employers to shut their doors. I am grateful to President Trump for his visit today, and for all he has done to make southwestern Pennsylvania a great place to live and work. I look forward to working with the administration to continue the Pennsylvania energy and manufacturing boom.”
However, protests began early this morning ahead of Trump’s visit. A group of demonstrators gathered in the heart of downtown. It is one of four protests planned for the day. The protesters carried signs and chanted, “Rise up,” and “You are not welcome here Donald Trump.”
Following the speech, there was a heavy police presence.
Just before 3 p.m., Air Force One touched down in Pittsburgh.
STARTING AT MIDNIGHT:
- 10th Street, closed in both directions
STARTING AT 4 A.M.
- 10th Street from Fort Duquesne Boulevard to French Street, closed in both directions to both vehicle and pedestrian traffic
- No pedestrian traffic on Fort Duquesne Boulevard from Garrison Place to 11th Street
- No pedestrian traffic from 11th Street from Fort Duquesne Boulevard to Smallman Street
STARTING AT 9 A.M. – FULL CLOSURES IN BOTH DIRECTIONS
- 10th Street Bypass from Fort Pitt and Fort Duquesne Bridge Ramps To Fort Duquesne Boulevard
- Fort Duquesne Boulevard from 10th Street Bypass to 11th Street
- 11th Street from Fort Duquesne Boulevard to Smallman Street
- 10th Street from Fort Duquesne Boulevard to French Street
- Fort Duquesne Boulevard from Rachel Carson Bridge to 10th Street Bypass
- Secondary street closures around the Convention Center will also be in place
HOV lane restrictions have been lifted from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. to help ease traffic congestion.
The two person occupancy restriction on the HOV lanes has been lifted from 3 PM to 7 PM Wednesday to help ease traffic congestion issues from the Presidential visit to Pittsburgh. The restriction will resume Thursday morning as normal.
— 511PA Pittsburgh (@511PAPittsburgh) October 23, 2019
Streets will reopen on a staggered basis after Trump leaves.
A dozen schools are closing because of the traffic disruptions and the city schools have canceled all athletic events.
The Pittsburgh Public Schools closed today include:
- Pittsburgh Allderdice High School
- Pittsburgh Brashear High School
- Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12
- Pittsburgh Carrick High School
- Pittsburgh Milliones 6-12
- Pittsburgh Obama 6-12
- Pittsburgh Online Academy Drop In Center
- Pittsburgh Oliver Citywide Academy
- Pittsburgh Perry High School
- Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy
- Pittsburgh Student Achievement Center
- Pittsburgh Westinghouse 6-12
In addition, Sacred Heart Elementary School in the Shadyside and East Liberty area is also closed today.
To check other school closures, click here.
Trump was the first Republican presidential candidate since 1988 to win Pennsylvania, and the state is important to his re-election campaign.
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