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Transportation Questions

Note: For detailed transportation information and more, please visit the joint PennDOT and Pennsylvania Turnpike Papal visit travel website: http://papal511.com/.

Why are state roads being closed?

As a result of requests from local governments and law enforcement, road closures within the City of Philadelphia and needs of law enforcement and first responders to maintain public safety, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will close various sections of state highways during the Papal Visit to Philadelphia. The highway restrictions will also best serve the travel demands in the region for moving event buses and emergency vehicles throughout the weekend.

What roads will be closed?

The amount of road closures within Philadelphia, the anticipated large crowds, and the necessity for law enforcement and first responders to be able to travel within the city would make it near impossible for regular interstate travel to occur on many highways.



The following exit ramps will close Thursday, September 24th at 10 p.m., until Monday morning, September 28, 2015:

-- I-676 East exit at 23rd Street/Ben Franklin Parkway
-- I-676 East exit at Broad Street (PA 611)
-- I-676 West exit at Broad Street (PA 611)
-- I-676 West exit at Ben Franklin Parkway

UPDATED: The following exit ramp will close Friday, September 25th at 10 p.m., until Monday morning, September 28, 2015:

-- I-676 East exit at 8th Street

These roads will be closed beginning on Friday, September 25th at 10 p.m., until Monday morning, September 28, 2015:

-- I-76W from I-95 to U.S. Route 1/Roosevelt Expressway
-- I-76E from I-476 to I-95
-- I-676/Vine Street Expressway from Benjamin Franklin Bridge to I-76, Eastbound and Westbound
-- The Benjamin Franklin Bridge
-- I-95 northbound and southbound exit ramps to Callowhill Street
-- I-95 northbound and southbound at I-676
-- I-95 northbound and southbound exit ramps to Washington Avenue (Open to registered buses only)
-- I-95 northbound and southbound exit ramps to Broad Street (Open to registered buses only)

These roads will be closed beginning Saturday, September 26, 2015 at 10 a.m., until late Sunday afternoon, September 27, 2015:

-- U.S. Route 1/City Ave. from U.S. Route 30 to Belmont Ave., Northbound and Southbound

The following New Jersey roads will also have closures during the World Meeting of Families:

-- I-676 Northbound from Morgan Street (Exit 3) to Benjamin Franklin Bridge
-- U.S. Route 30 Westbound from Airport Circle (NJ Route 38 and U.S. Route 130) to Benjamin Franklin Bridge

Will I-95 be closed?

Contrary to previous reports, I-95 will remain open to traffic with only selected ramps closed due to street closures within the city and other security needs.

What other roads will be closed?

Other road closures in the City of Philadelphia will be enacted by the city streets department, law enforcement or event organizers. The New Jersey Department of Transportation will also be closing some portions of roads in New Jersey. 

Find out more about City of Philadelphia road closures during the Papal Visit.

Find out more about New Jersey road closures during the Papal Visit.

How will you help drivers on other highways?

PennDOT and Pennsylvania State Police will work with PEMA and local EMS providers to ensure additional access to health and safety resources for travelers.

Who will manage traffic during the Papal visit?

PennDOT is working closely with State Police, Philadelphia Police, Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, County Emergency Operation Centers, and other regional and out-of-state transportation agencies to coordinate the traffic management plan during the Papal weekend. The Federal Highway Administration has reviewed and approved PennDOT’s traffic management plan.

How will PennDOT let drivers know about highway closures?

PennDOT is working with its neighboring mid-Atlantic transportation agencies to deploy a cohesive, long-distance travel advisory and diversion plan utilizing electronic Highway Message Signs to inform Philadelphia-bound travelers of locations of road closures; to provide information on alternatives for “through traffic” desiring to avoid the Philadelphia area; and information for those attending the Papal event.

Through this coordination, PennDOT and neighboring states will maximize the use of all available electronic Highway Message Signs from Baltimore to Scranton and throughout New Jersey to provide citizens with real time traffic information during the heaviest travel times, expected from Thursday, Sept. 24 through Monday, Sept. 28.

How should drivers travel to locations north or south of Philadelphia during the Papal Visit?

To avoid congested highways near Philadelphia, see the Interstate Diversion Plan map for alternate highways routes.


Why does PennDOT need to work with other states?

The aim of this interstate coordination is to disseminate travel information to encourage “non-Papal event” traffic to use alternate routes outside the metro Philadelphia area and divert as much “through” traffic as possible from the Philadelphia region.

Will there be any other restrictions?

Further restrictions will be in place for moving oversized and super loads through Pennsylvania during the week of the WMOF.

Why can’t the closed interstates be opened to pedestrians and bicyclists?

I-76 and I-676 are reserved for emergency and law enforcement vehicles and I-76 will be used by buses and vans registered for the World Meeting of Families, shuttle buses for dignitaries and motorcades for the pope and others during the visit. Allowing pedestrians or non-motorized vehicles on the closed sections during this period poses an unacceptable risk and a serious danger to pedestrians and bicyclists. Pedestrians and bicyclists can use the nearby Schuylkill Valley Trail for any excursions they plan as part of the Papal visit. However, portions of the trail adjacent to the Art Museum may be restricted during certain times during the visit.

Public Health Questions

How is the state helping event organizers with public health?

Due to the size and diversity of the population of expected visitors for the World Meeting of Families and the Papal visit, the Pennsylvania Department of Health is working with Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management and Emergency Medical Services to ensure there is adequate infrastructure on site for public health needs. Event organizers and the City of Philadelphia have requested public health support from the commonwealth.

Who is coordinating public health resources?

The Department of Health, in conjunction with Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management, will coordinate the resource requests by working with providers across the state and surrounding states.

What resources is the state supplying to assist with public health needs?

These resources include EMS teams, ambulances and utility vehicles, portable medical and health structures, cooling centers and other public health resources. Further, the Department of Health will work with the City of Philadelphia and World Meeting of Families to educate visitors on how to prepare and keep themselves healthy during the event.

Where can I find a first aid tent for non-life-threatening medical issues?

First aid tent capabilities include triaging, treatment of minor injuries (such as insect bites, rehydration, sunburns, heat exposure, etc.), CPR with AED, and diagnostics for diabetic concerns.

You can find First Aid Tents at these locations:

-- Ben Franklin High School Lot 2 – 1314-1332 Green Street
-- Public Health Building Lot – 500 South Broad Street
-- Market Lot – Market Street between 8th and 9th Streets
-- Moore College of Art and Design – Race Street, 20th Street to Logan Circle
-- Rittenhouse Square – Rittenhouse Square Park
-- PECO Surface Lot – Market Street and 22nd Street

How can I get help in a medical emergency?

Medical station capabilities include advanced life support, minor trauma treatment (wound repair, splinting, suturing), triaging, cardiac resuscitation, obstetrical assessments and emergency childbirth management, and pediatric services.

For medical emergencies, go to Medical Stations at these locations:

-- Francisville Playground – Wylie Street, North 19th Street to Cameron
-- City Hall Courtyard – Market and Broad Streets
-- Roman Field – North 24th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway
-- American College of Physicians – Race Street, Between 6th and 7th Streets

Where can I find a water station?
-- South Broad and Locust Streets
-- Rittenhouse House Square
-- Spring Garden Street between 17th and 18th Streets
-- Franklin Square

Public Safety and Security Questions

Why is the state sending public safety personnel to Philadelphia?

The scale and size of the Papal visit and anticipated crowds will require the Secret Service, City of Philadelphia and surrounding areas to increase the number of public safety personnel and resources on hand. As a result, various entities, including the Secret Service and Philadelphia, have requested assistance, resources and personnel from commonwealth agencies.

What role will the Pennsylvania State Police play?

At the request of the event hosts, the Pennsylvania State Police is preparing to send nearly 1,100 troopers from throughout the commonwealth, to Philadelphia to assist the Philadelphia Police and the Secret Service. Additional troopers will be added to roadways expected to have increased traffic during the visit. Working with PennDOT and PEMA, these troopers will have the primary purpose of assisting motorists and managing traffic.

Why is the Pennsylvania National Guard involved?

Pennsylvania National Guard members will assist the Secret Service and law enforcement with helping crowds move through the event area and keep routes open for emergency vehicles and law enforcement. The National Guard is often called to help during large-scale events.

What will National Guard members do at the event?

Their primary goal will be to keep visitors and residents safe, as well as to manage road closures and direct traffic towards detours. The number of National Guard members in the City of Philadelphia and surrounding areas is still being determined.

What if I lose a family member during the visit?

The American Red Cross has partnered with State and Local Health and Human Service Agencies to coordinate family reunification if necessary. Reunification operations will use the Red Cross Safe and well website: https://safeandwell.communityos.org/cms/index.php.

Additionally, assistance stations will be set up throughout the city of Philadelphia where visitors may be assisted with family reunification.

The American Red Cross and DHS have teamed up to activate a toll-free reunification number. Please call 855-259-2114 if you have become separated from friends and/or family during the Papal visit.

Lost children posts will be staffed by emergency personnel at all first aid tents, medical stations, 30th Street Station, and in the vicinity of the Sports Complex.

Pennsylvania Office Closures

For an updated list of Pennsylvania office closures due to the Papal visit, please visit: https://www.governor.pa.gov/pennsylvania-state-office-closures-due-to-papal-visit/.

More information

For more information on the World Meeting of Families 2015, please visit: http://www.worldmeeting2015.org/.

For those travelling to the World Meeting of Families or for the Papal visit, please see this guide: http://www.worldmeeting2015.org/plan-your-visit/.

For detailed travel information, please visit the joint PennDOT and Pennsylvania Turnpike Papal visit travel website: http://papal511.com/.



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