Pope Francis’s visit to Philadelphia in late September is expected to be such a traffic nightmare that the Secret Service has called in the National Guard for support.
“You might want to treat the Pope’s visit like an approaching snowstorm,” said one Philidelphia city official of the impending transportation fiasco.
Pope’s Visit To Paralyze Traffic
Transportation officials expect 2 million people in 100,000 to 250,000 vehicles to travel through New Jersey en route to for the Pope’s appearances on Saturday, September 26 and Sunday, September 27.
To make matters worse, both the New York Giants and New York Jets will play home games that weekend. Officials are advising people within a 25-mile radius of Philadelphia to avoid any unnecessary driving, even going so far as advising area residents to stock up on food, medicine, and DVDs.
Major Roadways to Close
Many major roadways around Philadelphia will be closed over the weekend. The Benjamin Franklin Bridge connecting New York to Philadelphia will shut down for the weekend, possibly as early as 10 p.m. on Friday night and will not reopen until noon on Monday. Some parts of I-76 and I-676 will be closed along with part of Route 1. A three square mile around the center of Philadelphia will be completely closed to all traffic except emergency vehicles.
In addition to the National Guard, officials may call in the Delaware Guard if the traffic situation gets out of control. 1,000 State Troopers will be brought in to help control traffic.