[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/12/04/art.mall.gi.jpg caption="The National Mall, above, will be open on Inauguration Day."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Presidential Inaugural Committee announced Thursday that the entire length of the National Mall will be open on Inauguration Day — the first time in history that expanse has been open to the public.
With anywhere from one to four million visitors expected to descend on the nation’s capital to view President-elect Barack Obama’s swearing in, authorities have wrestled with the task of finding enough viewing space. Just 240,000 tickets were expected to be issued for the event.
The National Mall, which has traditionally been a staging ground for the inaugural parade, can hold an estimated one million. The parade staging area has been moved elsewhere.
Space is still limited on Capitol grounds, site of the actual swearing in - Mall spectators will be able to view the proceedings on large TV screens set up by the PIC.
The PIC, which said further details would be released soon, did not say how admission to the Mall would be handled. Those hoping to camp out early to get a prime viewing spot are out of luck — the Secret Service has said they will need the Mall clear early on the morning of the inauguration in order to do a security sweep.