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Plan for closed roads, long lines during Obama’s visit, officials say

Those planning to attend President Barack Obama and first lady’s rally on the Ohio State Oval Sunday should plan for closed roads, limited parking and airport-like security.

The main entrance to the Ohio State Oval — between the William Oxley Thompson Library and Mirror Lake — will open at 5 p.m. for the program beginning at 6:30 p.m. Police barricades will surround all other parts of the Oval until that time, according to OSU officials and police.

Obama is scheduled to land in Columbus in Air Force One at 6:30 p.m. Before Obama takes the stage in an attempt to fire up voters before the Nov. 2 mid-term election — one that some Democrats fear could tip the scales away from them — the crowd will hear from a lineup of politicians including Gov. Ted Strickland and former Sen. John Glenn. Singer John Legend will also perform before the president and first lady speak.

A comparable event at the University of Wisconsin at Madison drew a 1.1-mile line, according to police at the University of Wisconsin. Security will be strict, and attendees are encouraged to travel light and leave bags and laptops at home, officials said. Cameras are allowed, but signs and large bags are not.

Campus parking will be limited beginning at 5 a.m., and many streets near the Oval will be closed or restricted until the event is over, including 17th through 19th avenues on campus, Neil Avenue north of 12th Avenue, and parts of High Street and College Road.

Olentangy River Road and state S.R. 315 will remain open, and several parking lots and garages will remain open for the event, including the lots next to Ohio Stadium, St. John Arena, French Field House and the Schottenstein Center, as well as Tuttle and Lane Avenue parking garages. Parking in those lots will be first-come, first-served.

Parking will not be available on closed roads or in the Neil Avenue and Ohio Union parking garages. Disabled parking will be available in the Ohio Union North Parking Garage.

Most buildings around the Oval will be closed except Thompson Library and the Wexner Center, which can be accessed through the east entrance. Those buildings will re-open after the rally ends.

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