As a reminder, weekend-long travel restrictions will start later this week on Interstate 76 (Schuylkill Expressway), Interstate 676 and U.S. 1 (City Avenue) to maintain public safety and best serve the travel demands for moving law enforcement and emergency vehicles through the area during the historic visit of Pope Francis to the City of Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation said today.
“The combination of the street closures in Philadelphia, the anticipated large crowds, and the need for law enforcement and first responders to move swiftly within the city necessitated the restrictions that will be in place during this momentous event,” said PennDOT District Executive Kenneth M. McClain.
To assist those traveling to Philadelphia for the papal visit, PennDOT and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission launched a detailed travelers’ website – www.Papal511.com. The website is a useful tool that provides real-time traffic information; details on how to reach the papal venues, and how to take diversion routes around the region; color-coded maps showing how traffic is flowing; and other valuable event information. The site is accessible from both desktop and mobile interfaces.
In addition, PennDOT and neighboring Mid-Atlantic States have deployed a cohesive, long-distance travel advisory and diversion plan utilizing 335 electronic Highway Message Signs to inform Philadelphia-bound travelers of locations of highway closures and provide alternative routes for “through traffic” desiring to avoid the Philadelphia area.
In coordination with the Pennsylvania State Police and local jurisdictions, the following exit ramps along Interstate 676 in Philadelphia will close Thursday, September 24 at 10 p.m., until Monday, morning, September 28, 2015:
• I-676 east exit at 23rd Street/Benjamin Franklin Parkway;
• I-676 east exit at Broad Street (Route 611);
• I-676 east exit at 8th Street;
• I-676 west exit at Broad Street (Route 611); and
• I-676 west exit at Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
The following highway and ramp closures will begin Friday, September 25, 2015 at 10 p.m., until Monday morning, September 28, 2015:
• Interstate 76 east from Interstate 476 in Montgomery County to Interstate 95 in Philadelphia, and I-76 west from I-95 to U.S. 1 (Roosevelt Expressway) in Philadelphia;
• I-676 in both directions between I-76 and I-95 in Philadelphia;
• I-95 north and south exit ramps to Callowhill Street in Philadelphia;
• I-95 north and south exit ramps to I-676 in Philadelphia;
• I-95 north and south exit ramps to Washington Avenue (Open to registered buses only) in Philadelphia; and
• I-95 north and south exit ramps to Broad Street (Route 611) (Open to registered buses only) in Philadelphia.
The following road closure will start Saturday, September 26, 2015 at 10 a.m. and continue until 10 p.m., and then resume Sunday, September 27 at 7 a.m. until late Sunday afternoon:
• U.S. 1 (City Avenue) in both directions between U.S. 30 (Lancaster Avenue) and Belmont Avenue in Philadelphia and Lower Merion Township, Montgomery County.
Interstate 95 will remain open to traffic with only selected ramps closed due to street closures within Philadelphia and other security needs.
Motorists are advised to also expect slowdowns and possible travel restrictions near SEPTA regional rail stations and transportation centers that are in operation this coming Saturday and Sunday.
Throughout the weekend of the papal visit, the best option for citizens to use to reach the papal venues in Philadelphia is to travel by public transportation; however, if traveling by personal vehicle, drivers are advised to:
• Pre-Plan your trip, including a location to park outside the Francis Festival Grounds;
• Visit www.papal511.com or call 511 for traffic information;
• Allow additional time for travel;
• Ensure there is sufficient fuel and water in the vehicle; and
• Listen to news reports for additional traffic information on regional highways.