Parts of fence around US Capitol coming down as threats ease, Senate sergeant at arms says

WASHINGTON – The head of Senate security announced Monday portions of temporary fencing erected around the Capitol after the Jan. 6 riot will be removed for lack of a credible threat, according to an email obtained by USA TODAY.

Timothy Blodgett, the acting Senate sergeant at arms, sent the announcement to all members of Congress that intelligence partners with Capitol police found “there does not exist a known, credible threat against Congress or the Capitol Complex that warrants the temporary security fencing.”

The fencing has been contentious for weeks, as lawmakers of both parties criticized the fencing topped with razor wire surrounding the campus that tourists and residents like to visit. Lawmakers in both chambers have pressed authorities and campus officials about when the fence would come down.

A fence refitted with security wire near the U.S. Capitol on Friday. (Photo: Jack Gruber, Jack Gruber-USA TODAY)

A security review headed by retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré recommended adopting movable fences that could be deployed and dismantled for specific threats. But the House and Senate must still debate what options to pursue and how much to spend. The existing fence costs about $1.2 million per week.

During the past week,the  fencing was modified to allow more traffic near the Capitol. This week, Capitol police and the architect of the Capitol, which oversees the buildings and grounds, will reposition fending around Capitol Square.

The razor wire will be removed from the top of the fence and the new positioning will allow pedestrian access to the Capitol, Blodgett said. Bike racks will be placed around House office buildings. But fencing will remain around Capitol Square as security repairs are made to the building, Blodgett said.

The week of March 22, the fencing will be removed to open Independence and Constitution avenues for traffic, Blodgett said.

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