President’s trip to Las Vegas will affect traffic, flights

When President Obama arrives Friday at McCarran International Airport, traffic will grind to a halt, both at the airport and on streets along the route to Del Sol High School.

It’s the usual VIP protocol that occurs when a high-ranking dignitary that warrants Secret Service protection comes to Las Vegas.

While Obama’s schedule has not been released, most indicators point to a late-morning or early-afternoon arrival at the school. Since it’s a five-minute motorcade ride from the airport to Del Sol, Air Force One should arrive after Friday’s morning commute ends.

McCarran officials said the normal procedure for a VIP arrival requires a “ramp freeze” when the president’s plane is on final approach to the airport. When the freeze is announced, nothing on the runways, taxiways and ramps at the airport can move until the Secret Service issues an all-clear announcement.

That means there will likely be some flight delays at McCarran for about a 15-30-minute span.

However, airport officials are encouraging passengers to arrive at the airport at their regularly scheduled times because circumstances can change and airlines won’t be building delays into their schedules.

The Metropolitan Police Department hasn’t disclosed the size of the escort force, saying that it is operating in a secondary role to the Secret Service. While all VIP arrivals are different, police escorts normally put rolling street closures in place.

Officials haven’t announced Obama’s route to Del Sol — and probably won’t — but the most likely path from the airport would be east on Russell Road to a southbound cross-street, probably Eastern Avenue, McLeod Drive or Pecos Road to Patrick Lane where Del Sol is located.

The distance between the the location that Air Force One will be parked and Del Sol is less than three miles.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at or 702-477-3893. Find him on Twitter: @RickVelotta.

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