|It’s no secret that the White House’s Secret Service guards have had some trouble preventing people from climbing and jumping over the fence that surrounds the Ellipse on Pennsylvania Ave.
The obvious solution, according to the U.S. Secret Service and the National Capitol Planning Commission, was to make a plan that involves steel spikes being placed on top of the current black iron fence.
Unlike the other 90% of new fence installations in the U.S. each year, this new addition isn’t intended to increase privacy for the Obamas.
CNN and the Huffington Post report that the U.S. Secret Service presented the proposal to the National Capitol Planning Commission. On Thursday, May 7, the plan was approved.
The new spikes will be slightly over seven inches tall and will have a steel “pencil point” at the top, which protrudes in multiple angular directions (much like layers of spikes) in order to deter people from climbing the fence. Poltico states that these “pencil points” will be placed in between the “decorative spear-shaped finials” that currently adorn the fence.
As explained by Tom Dougherty, the Chief Strategy officer of the Secret Service, “The current fence is a measure that was useful for a bygone era. It has been breached many times.”
Workers will start installing the spikes during July, and it’s estimated that the installation will take about four weeks.
The “pencil points” are a temporary solution, the Secret Service stated, and the U.S. National Park Service is designing a more permanent solution.
The security (or lack thereof) of the White House first came into question during September 2014 when a war veteran climbed the fence and ran into — and through — the White House with a knife. There have been multiple subsequent incidents since then, resulting in the resignation of Julia Pierson, then Secret Service director.
In addition to the spikes, three guard booths surrounding the White House will be rearranged and the current concrete barriers on Pennsylvania Ave. will be replaced with steel plate barriers.