Pope Francis makes his way to the United States for the first time this week, and will make a stop in Philadelphia over the weekend. Major highways will close due the influx of visitors and for security purposes. The papal visit festivities are already in full swing; make sure to read below to see how they could affect your travel plans.
- Major highways and the Ben Franklin bridge will be closed, and traffic will be restricted in the city before, during, and after the Pope’s visit.
- The Benjamin Franklin Parkway will be closed in both directions.
- The Ben Franklin bridge will close to traffic on Friday, September 25th at 10 p.m. until 12 p.m. September 28th. The bridge will still be used for pedestrian crossing.
- Starting Friday at 10pm: I-76 east from I-476 to I-95 and I-76 west from I-95 to Route 1
- I-676 will be closed in both directions from I-76 to I-95
- Mayor Nutter made a “traffic box” for Center City and West Philadelphia. It starts at 6pm Friday for Center City and 10pm for West Philly. Vehicles will be allowed out, but not able to return. There will be no SEPTA buses or trolley service within the traffic box.
- Security Perimeters are being made around the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and Independence Mall.
The Security Perimeters will be surrounded by a fence. Vehicles will need to be removed from the area.
- From Thursday at 10pm. to Friday at 6 a.m, the area between 12th Street and west to 20th Street will be open to pedestrians only.
- Screening checkpoints will be set up along the route of the pope’s motorcade and at events he will attend.
- Those who have tickets to a papal event will have to undergo airport-style security screenings.
The Secret Service has compiled a list of banned items for the weekend of the Papal Visit, the list is below:
- Animals other than service or guide animals
- Backpacks and bags exceeding the size restrictions (18″ x 13″ x 7″)
- Hard Coolers (soft-sided thermal coolers are allowed)
- Explosives (including firearms and weapons)
- Glass, thermal or metal containers
- Laser pointers
- Mace or pepper spray
- Selfie sticks
- Signs exceeding (5′ x 3′ x 1/4″) made of any material except cardboard, poster board or cloth
- Supports for signs or placards
- Toy guns
- Any other items determined to be a potential safety hazard.