What to Know
- The closure of Interstate 76 eastbound that was planned for this weekend now won't happen due to weather.
- Instead, the Schuylkill Expressway from 30th Street to South Street will be reduced to a single lane Friday night to Saturday night.
- Expect other I-76 closures and lane restrictions overnight during the workweek and then a complete closure next weekend.
Got fall plans this weekend? The Schuylkill Expressway is no longer going to be closed in Philadelphia as originally planned.
PennDOT had planned to close eastbound Interstate 76 from 30th Street to South Street Friday night through Monday morning so that crews could redeck the surface of the viaduct. The plan was to do around-the-clock work on the eastbound lanes like crews had the past two weekends.
However, with rain threatening Sunday, PennDOT has scaled back its plan to only an eastbound lane closure Friday night into Saturday night.
Still expect to give yourself some extra time to get to those fall festivals and Halloween-themed events this weekend as traffic is expected to slow.
Here is what you need to know about the changes:
When Will the Schuylkill Expressway Lane Be Restricted?
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation plans to reduce I-76 eastbound to one lane over an about 4,000-foot stretch of highway from 9 p.m. Friday to 10 p.m. Saturday.
What Will Crews Be Doing to the Schuylkill Expressway Viaduct?
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The construction project of replacing the viaduct, which was first built in 1960, is a daunting one as crews are in the process of fixing 289 spans.
You might not have noticed on a recent drive, but some of the spans have already been redone over the past few months.
Crews will be repaving part of the roadway this weekend. With construction crews on the roadway, expect traffic to be slow under the overhead viaducts near 30th Street Station.
How Do I Avoid the Slowdown?
If you want to not deal with a potential slowdown, you can plan on using surface roads like 34th and 38th streets in University City and 21st and 23rd streets in Center City to then access the South Street Bridge.
If you are coming from the burbs, the Martin Luther King and Kelly drives aren't great options Saturday due to recreational activity closing MLK Drive during the day and the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta along the Kelly Drive.
The best bet may be to just stick it out on I-76 and give yourself extra time or use SEPTA Regional Rail.
Will the Highway Be Completely Open During the Week?
The short answer is no.
PennDOT is instituting overnight lane closures in both directions into next week.
At 9 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday crews will reduce eastbound I-76 to a single lane. The highway will then be closed from 11 p.m. through 5 a.m. the next morning so that crews can rehab and paint the overhead viaduct.
During the closure, eastbound traffic will be forced off at 30 Street, loop around the station, turn left on Chestnut Street and right on Schuylkill Avenue before accessing the Schuylkill Expressway again from the Walnut Street ramp.
From 9 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday through 5 a.m. the following morning, I-76 westbound will be reduced to a single lane at 30th Street so that crews can rehab the overhead viaduct, PennDOT said.
Also note that the westbound I-76 ramp to 30th Street could be periodically closed from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. during the week so that crews can place concrete under the viaduct, PennDOT said.
This is all part of a $39.8-million project to revamp three separate viaducts on the busy Schuylkill Expressway.
Will I-76 Be Closed Next Weekend?
From 11 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1, through 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, I-76 will be closed in two spots in Philadelphia and Montgomery County so that PennDOT can install Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) components.
The eastbound direction will be closed between U.S. Route 1 and Strawberry Mansion Bridge in Philadelphia. The westbound lanes will be closed between Righters Ferry Road and Belmont Avenue in Lower Merion Township.
There could also be periodic shoulder closures on I-76 between the Pennsylvania Turnpike and Montgomery Drive from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
How Many Vehicles Use I-76 in Philly?
About 130,00 vehicles speed (or inch along due to the heavy traffic) over the stretch of I-76 daily, PennDOT said. Those drivers will need to go a different way this weekend.