Barricades up, traffic restrictions in place around Lee Circle

May 18, 2017 | Updated: 6:19 p.m., May 18, 2017

NEW ORLEANS —¬†NOPD has placed barricades around Lee Circle and restricted street car and vehicle traffic in the area.

It’s a sure sign that the Robert E. Lee monument¬†is coming down, the only question is when.

There are also temporary no parking signs in place.

P.G.T. Beauregard statue, pieces of other monuments sitting in city-owned lot

Traffic from the CBD is being diverted so that drivers cannot continue on Saint Charles Avenue toward the Pontchartrain Expressway or the Lower Garden District and Uptown neighborhoods.

When Robert E. Lee is removed, it will be the fourth and final Confederate-era monument to be taken down by the city.

The P.G.T. Beauregard monument at the entrance to City Park was removed just after 3 a.m. Wednesday, though crews had been working to take the six-ton statue off its pedestal since 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.

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The Jefferson Davis statue came down overnight last week, and Liberty Place came down in mid-April.

At each monument removal, crews wore masks to protect their identities, and there was a heavy police presence surrounding the work site.

The City Council voted in December 2015 to declare the Confederate monuments a nuisance and have them removed. There has been much controversy and several lawsuits challenging the city’s decision, but the courts have ultimately ruled that the city has the right to take them down.

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Out-of-state protesters have surrounded the monuments in recent weeks, and there have been a number of clashes between groups that want the statues removed and people who want to see the statues remain in place.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu has taken considerable heat for leading the charge to remove the monuments.

The Louisiana Legislature is considering a bill that would require a local vote before removing any monuments that honor military conflicts or veterans, though it’s unclear whether the statues would have to go back up if the bill becomes law. The governor weighed in this week, indicating that he would not support the measure in its current form.

He said the monuments have a place in history, but that place might be at a museum.

The city has repeatedly said that the monuments would be stored at a secure location, but the P.G.T. Beauregard statue and pieces of other monuments were spotted Wednesday afternoon sitting in plain view outside at a city-owned maintenance lot in the Desire neighborhood.

Check back for updates on the Robert E. Lee monument.