Plans for the Philadelphia visit by Pope Francis
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia-area streets and highways will be affected by Pope Francis' visit Sept. 26-27. Here are the main features of what officials have planned.
BEN FRANKLIN BRIDGE
The nearly 2-mile Delaware River span linking New Jersey to downtown Philadelphia will be closed to vehicles from 10 p.m. Sept. 25 to about noon Sept. 28. The bridge will remain open to pedestrians and PATCO Speed Line rail service will continue to run across the span.
About 25 miles of highway will be closed beginning Sept. 25 at 10 p.m. Officials said it wasn't clear when they would reopen.
Interstate 76, known in Philadelphia as the Schuylkill Expressway, will be closed eastbound from Interstate 476 near Conshohocken to Interstate 95 in South Philadelphia. The highway will be closed westbound from I-95 to U.S. Route 1, known as Roosevelt Boulevard, in North Philadelphia.
The Vine Street Expressway, a 2.15-mile thoroughfare running under downtown Philadelphia, will be closed from I-76 to I-95.
A 2-mile stretch of U.S. Route 1 will be closed from U.S. Route 30 near St. Charles Borromeo Seminary to Belmont Avenue. Francis is expected to stay at the Wynnewood seminary and meet there with clergy.
Vehicles won't be allowed to enter a 3-square-mile zone in downtown Philadelphia beginning at 6 p.m. Sept. 25. Charter buses headed to the papal visit are also restricted. Cars already inside the zone can move around but won't be allowed back in once they leave.
The zone, dubbed the "traffic box" by city officials, is about 18 times the size of Vatican City. It extends from the Delaware River west to 38th Street in West Philadelphia and from as far north as Girard Avenue and as far south as South Street. The northern boundary tapers south along Ridge Avenue to Spring Garden Street at 12th Street.
Certain streets within the zone will be restricted to emergency vehicles only. They include: Vine, 22nd, Lombard and Market, east of City Hall.