Philadelphia Mayor announces major highway closures for Pope’s visit

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PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — More than one million people are expected to visit Philadelphia for Pope Francis’s mass in September, but getting into the city could be tricky.

At a press conference Thursday, Mayor Michael Nutter announced a 23-mile stretch of I-76 eastbound will be shut down beginning Friday night, September 25. A smaller stretch of I-76 westbound will be closed as well.

In addition, Interstate 676 and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge will be shut down for the weekend. The Benjamin Franklin Bridge will be used for pedestrian traffic.

Despite the roads being closed, Mayor Nutter hopes the Pope’s visit will encourage people to visit Philadelphia.

“The current general estimate for Philadelphia is well north of one million, possibly a million and a half or more,” Nutter said. “We are working actively, every day to make sure that Philadelphia is open and accessible to everyone who wants to be here.”

Dozens of streets within Philadelphia will also be closed off to traffic for the weekend. City leaders are encouraging people to use mass transit to get into and out of the city.

For a full itinerary of Pope Francis’s visit to Philadelphia, visit the World Meeting of Families website.