Security tightens ahead of Barbara Bush funeral service

Thousands of people are expected to make their way to St Martin's Episcopal Church on Friday to pay their respects to former first lady Barbara Bush.

As the crowd is anticipated to be large, the message, from a security perspective, is to plan like you're going to the airport without any bags.

Attendees will be screened and taken by METRO shuttle from a parking lot at Second Baptist Church on Woodway Drive to St. Martin's Episcopal.

"We've all lost a great American and I have a feeling that we're going to see a lot of people coming," said Houston Police Department Chief Art Acevedo during a news conference on Thursday.

Final farewells to "America's Grandmother" will commence on Friday.

"When you're at NRG Stadium and Barbara and George Bush walk in and you look around, people are crying," said Chief Acevedo. "That's how much this couple means to all of us and that means yours included."

That show of support means Chief Acevedo's department along with other local and federal law enforcement agencies are focused on securing the area around St Martin's Episcopal Church.

"Traffic between the loop and Chimney Rock on Woodway will be extremely congested, so please avoid if at all possible," suggested Chief Acevedo.

A soft closure of Woodway Drive between Chimney Rock and Post Oak begins at around 9 a.m. Friday, allowing only business owners and residents to get through.

Chief Acevedo explained that the nearly one-mile stretch of Woodway Drive will be closed off entirely on Saturday.

"There will be no walking to the event," said Chief Acevedo.

Bags and purses will not pass through security and taking photos will not be allowed inside of the church.

"Please, let's all be on our best behavior, let's all be patient," said Chief Acevedo.