August 5, 2015

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

In the announcement on Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Michael Nutter said some 1.5 million people expected to be in the city for the event.

"Think of it: 1.5 million visitors in addition to our 1.5 million residents who have to move around the city in their daily lives," Nutter said.

The details:


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

*US Route 1 will be closed in both directions from US Route 30 to Belmont Avenue, because Pope Francis is staying at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary.

*I-95 WILL REMAIN OPEN with selected ramps closed


*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

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.


Saturday, September 26

Private Arrival: Atlantic Aviation
The Cathedral Mass with Pope Francis: The Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul


Greeting of the Holy Father by the Seminarians of Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary:
Exterior Front Steps of Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary
"We Hold These Truths... :" Independence Hall (Outdoor; Overlooking Independence Mall)
Address by Pope Francis (Expected Themes: Religious Liberty and Immigration)

The Festival of Families: The Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Sunday, September 27

Address to Cardinals + Bishops attending World Meeting of Families - Philadelphia 2015:
Saint Martin's Chapel at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary
Visit with Prisoners and Select Families:
Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility

The Papal Mass: The Benjamin Franklin Parkway (Projected: 4 p.m. EST)

A Celebration of World Meeting of Families - Philadelphia 2015 Supporters + Volunteers:
Atlantic Aviation

Official Departure Ceremony: Atlantic Aviation
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