Major highway closures in Philadelphia for papal visit

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

PHILADELPHIA -- Major highways and the Ben Franklin bridge will close and traffic will be restricted in the city before, during, and after Pope Francis' visit to Philadelphia.

In the city, the Ben Franklin Parkway is now closed in both directions so crews can continue setup for the papal visit festivities, and towing has started in restricted areas. Get more details here.



The following highway closures will start at 10 p.m. on Friday, September 25th:

*I-76 eastbound from I-476 to I-95

*I-76 westbound from I-95 to US Route 1

*I-676 will be closed in both directions from I-76 to I-95


*Portions of U.S. Route 1 (City Ave.) will be periodically closed starting 10 a.m. on Saturday, September 26th.

Times of closure:

-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

-Sunday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Portions closed:

-NORTHBOUND (Philadelphia side): CLOSED FROM INTERSTATE 76 to Lancaster Ave. (Route 30)

-SOUTHBOUND (Lower Merion side): Closed between Belmont Avenue and Lancaster Avenue (Route 30).


*I-95 WILL REMAIN OPEN. However, all I-95 exits leading into the no-vehicle area will be closed due to the security perimeter from Broad Street to I-676. In addition the ramps accessing Washington Street and Delaware Avenue will only be open to registered bus traffic.


*The Ben Franklin bridge will also close to vehicular traffic on Friday, September 25th at 10 p.m. until 12 p.m. on Monday, September 28th. The only vehicles allowed will be emergency vehicles.

*The bridge will be used as a pedestrian crossing.


Meanwhile, Mayor Nutter announced what's being called a 'traffic box' for parts of Center City and West Philadelphia.

The traffic box for Center City will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, September 25th, while the traffic box for West Philadelphia will begin at 10 p.m.

Vehicles will be allowed out of the traffic box, but will not be able to re-enter. However, drivers will be able to travel inside the traffic box.

There will be authorized vehicle access roads for emergency vehicles only.

There will be no SEPTA bus service or trolley service within the traffic box.

Bicycle and pedestrian traffic WILL be allowed inside the traffic box.

It's not yet known if taxis will be allowed to operate inside the traffic box.

Boundaries are as follows for the Center City traffic box:

*North Boundary: Spring Garden to Ridge, Ridge to Girard, Girard to the Schuylkill River

*South Boundary: South Street, from the Delaware River to the Schuylkill River

*East Boundary: Delaware Avenue from South Street to Spring Garden Street.

*West Boundary: Along the edge of the Schuylkill River, up Kelly Drive, stopping just below the Girard Avenue Bridge.

Boundaries are as follows for the West Philadelphia traffic box:

*North Boundary: Powelton Avenue, from 32nd street to 38th

*South Boundary: University Avenue to Grays Ferry

*East Boundary: Edge of Schuylkill River and the train tracks

*West Boundary: 38th Street from Powelton Avenue to University Avenue


Security Perimeters are being established around the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and Independence Mall, where Francis is expected to address large crowds.

The Security Perimeters will be surrounded by a fence that will have entry points with a magnetometer. Vehicles will need to be removed from the Security Perimeter. (RED OUTLINE on City Map)

Also, a second perimeter will be established called the Secure Vehicle Perimeter. It will surround the Security Perimeter. All vehicles will also have to be removed from inside the Secure Vehicle Perimeter. (BLACK OUTLINE on City Map)

PHOTOS: Map of security perimeter in Philadelphia for pope's visit


Thursday, September 24th at 10 p.m.: The Security Perimeter and the Secure Vehicle Perimeter around the Ben Franklin Parkway will go into effect and a fence will be constructed.

Friday, September 25th at 6 a.m.: Area between 12th Street and west to 20th Street will be open to pedestrians only. In the RED AREA pedestrians will need to be screened with magnetometers.

Friday, September 25th at 8 a.m.: Authorized vehicle access roads will go into effect. No other vehicles will be allowed.

Friday, September 25th at 6 p.m. in Center City and 10 p.m. in West Philadelphia: The previously announced Traffic Boxes will go into effect.

Friday, September 25th at 10 p.m.: The Independence Hall area Security Perimeter and Secure Vehicle Perimeter will be established.

Friday, September 25th at 10 p.m.: The Ben Franklin bridge will close to vehicular traffic

Saturday, September 26th at 6 a.m.: 20th Street west to the Art Museum and at Independence Hall - both will be open to screened pedestrians.

Saturday afternoon: After Pope Francis' speech at Independence Hall, there will be no screening in that area, but vehicles will still not be allowed in the Security Perimeter and Secure Vehicle Perimeter.

Sunday afternoon(Approx. 4 p.m.): Pope Francis will deliver a Mass on the Ben Franklin Parkway.

The Secure Perimeters will be in effect through Sunday night.


Fairmount Drive from the intersection of Kelly Drive to N 24th Street

24th Street between Fairmount Drive and Wallace Street

Wallace Street between N 24th Street and N 23rd Street

N 23rd Street between Wallace Street and Mount Vernon Street

Mount Vernon Street between N 23rd Street and N 22nd Street

N 22nd Street between Mount Vernon Street and Green Street

Green Street between N 22nd Street and N 21st Street

N 21st Street between Green Street and Brandywine Street

Brandywine Street between N 21st Street and N 20th Street

N 20th Street between Brandywine Street and Hamilton Street

Hamilton Street between N 20th Street and N 19th Street

Through the north side of the park between N 19th Street and N 18th Street

The Community College of Philadelphia will serve as the perimeter between N 18th Street and N 17th Street

N 17th Street south of Spring Garden Street to Callowhill Street

Callowhill Street between N 17th Street and N 16th Street

N 16th Street from Callowhill Street, over I-676 (Vine Street Expressway) to the East Bound Lanes of Vine Street

Along the sidewalk that parallels East Bound Vine Street and runs perpendicular to the Hahnemann Hospital - Drexel University College of Medicine

Vine Street between N 15th and N Broad Street

N Broad Street between N 15th Street and Race Street

Race Street between N Broad Street and N 12th Street

N 12th Street continuing S to S 12th Street between Race Street and Sansom Street* (This will change beginning at 10:00 p.m. on Friday, September 25)

Sansom Street between S 12th Street and S 17th Street

S 17th Street between Sansom Street and Chestnut Street

Chestnut Street between S 17th Street and S 18th Street

S 18th Street continuing N to N 18th Street between Chestnut Street and Cuthbert Street

Cuthbert Street between N 18th Street and N 21st Street

N 21st Street between Cuthbert Street and Cherry Street

Cherry Street between N 21st Street, past N 23rd Street to the River

Beginning at 10:00 p.m. Friday, September 25, the following secure vehicle perimeter will go into effect:

N 12th Street between Race Street and Filbert Street

Filbert Street between N 12th Street and N 9th Street

N 9th between Filbert Street and Cherry Street

Cherry Street between N 9th Street and N 8th Street

N 8th Street from Cherry Street continuing N across the eastbound lanes of Vine Street, under I-676 (Vine Street Expressway) and across the westbound lanes of Vine Street

The perimeter will run parallel to I-676 through a grassy area to N 6th street

N 6th Street just south of Callowhill Street to the structure supporting I-676 and over to the area of Randolph Street, Vine Street and across N 5th Street

New Street/Marginal Road between N 5th Street and N 4th Street

N 4th Street between New Street/Marginal Road and Arch Street

Arch Street between N 4th Street and N 3rd Street

N 3rd Street continuing S to S 3rd Street between Arch Street and Willings Alley near St. James Place

Through Willings Alley to S 4th Street

S 4th Street between Willings Alley and Locust Street

Locust Street between S 4th Street and S 6th Street

S 6th Street between Locust Street and S. Washington Square

S. Washington Square between S 6th Street and S 7th Street

S 7th Street between S. Washington Square and Manning Street

Manning Street between S 7th Street and S 8th Street

S 8th Street to Spruce Street

Spruce Street between S 8th Street and S 9th Street

S 9th street from between Spruce Street and Cherry Street

Cherry Street between S 9th Street and S 12th Street


The World Meeting of Families will start on Tuesday, September 22nd. Pope Francis will visit on Saturday, September 26th and Sunday, September 27th.

The itinerary for the pope includes eight public events in the city, including his arrival and departure from Atlantic Aviation.

He'll visit the Independence Mall, the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary, the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, and of course, the Ben Franklin Parkway.

The archdiocese is expecting a million and a half people to crowd the Parkway as the pope celebrates an open air mass at 4 p.m. Sunday.

Earlier in the day he will celebrate mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul. That will be an invitation only event with tickets issued to just 1,600 people.

The pope will be staying at St. Charles Boromeo Seminary on City Avenue. He will greet the seminarians there when he arrives Saturday.

Sunday morning at the seminary he will address the cardinals and bishops who will be in town for the World Meeting of Families. He will then head to Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in Northeast Philadelphia where he will meet with prisoners and select families.

LINK: See the FULL ITINERARY for the pope's visit.