HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Nassau County officials are expected to close roads surrounding Hofstra University on Sept. 26, in anticipation for the first presidential debate of the election.

Roads leading to the Hofstra University campus in Hempstead will close at 5 a.m. on Monday, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported. The heavily-trafficked Hempstead Turnpike will be shut down at 11:30 a.m. between Oak Street and Merrick Avenue by Eisenhower Park.

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With all eyes on Hofstra, securing the debate is the number one priority for Nassau County police.

“This is arguably the most significant security event in the last thirty years in Nassau County,” Nassau County Police Acting Commissioner Thomas Krumpter said.

Other street closures/advisories include:

  • Oak Street from Hempstead Turnpike, to Westbury Boulevard will be closed to traffic.
  • Lawrence Street in Uniondale will run northboud only between Hempstead Turnpike and Westbury Boluevard.
  • Courtenay Road in Hempstead will run southbound only between Hempstead Turnpike and Front Street.
  • Manor Parkway, Marvin Avenue, Walton Avenue, Gilroy Avenue and Cunningham Avenue will run one way for one block southbound from Hempstead Turnpike.

“It’s a different world today than it was in 2012,” Krumpter said. It’s exponentially more dangerous and really changes the dynamic on how we’re going to handle the free speech area.” 

As many as 10,000 protestors are expected to swarm the event. Opposing groups are expected to be separated to prevent clashes.

Protesters will be screened ahead of the event for items like ammunition and other weapons, back packs, drones, selfie sticks, pepper spray, laser pointers and other contraband. Pets are prohibited with the exception of service or guide dogs.

It’s Hofstra’s third time hosting a presidential debate, but it could be the most watched in history. Hofstra got this first debate when Wright State University in Ohio pulled out.

The event is expected to cost the county upwards of $2 million — far more than the Obama-Romney town hall hosted by the institution in 2012.

 

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