Schuylkill River

Flooded I-676 Remains Closed for 2nd Day as Crews Deal With Muddy Mess

Kelly Drive and Martin Luther King Drive also remained closed Friday morning after the Schuylkill River overflowed its banks

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What to Know

  • Flooding from the Schuylkill River continued to cause traffic woes in Philadelphia throughout Friday.
  • Stretches of the Vine Street Expressway, MLK Drive and Kelly Drive remained closed due to issues caused by the surging rivers.
  • Pumps are being used to clear water from I-676 between Broad Street and the Schuylkill.

Don't plan on using the Vine Street Expressway, MLK Drive or Kelly Drive during your Friday commute.

Pumps were brought in to pull the water from I-676, which basically became a basin full of water so high it nearly reached the overpasses as the Schuylkill surged Thursday morning. By midday, about 8 feet worth of water had already been removed, PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian said.

The underwater and muddy section of the Vine between Broad Street and the Schuylkill River remained closed Friday, cutting Center City Philadelphia in half with what looked more like a Venetian canal than a major American artery. The entire westbound side was closed and eastbound was only accessible between Broad Street and Interstate 95.

The surging Schuylkill River continued to recede Friday morning, but not enough for the MLK or Kelly drives in Fairmount Park to reopen fully. MLK Drive remained closed its length while Kelly Drive was closed between Lincoln and Sedgley drives in both directions, Philadelphia police said.

Drivers can use Interstate 76 (the Schuylkill Expressway) as an alternate route after it reopened Thursday evening after flooding earlier in the day. Surface roads and I-95 could also be used to get around the mess.

Up to 6 to 8 inches of rain from the remnants of Ida fell across parts of the Philadelphia region Wednesday, leading to widespread flooding that close some the city's major roadways as the water rushed from the Schuylkill River.

The scene -- especially along I-676 -- was like none anyone could remember as a river of water cut Center City in half from above 22nd Street to Broad Street. It was also a smelly situation due to sewage that could be mixed in with the water. City officials told people to stay out of the water.

Neighborhoods around the Schuylkill River are dealing with heavy flooding after the remains of hurricane Ida hit our area. The rising waters have reached the tops of cars in some areas. NBC10's Stephanía Jiménez has the details.

A failing pump station near 22nd Street and I-676 failed, leading to more flooding, PennDOT spokesman Brad Rudolph said.

Crews with water pumps could be seen working to clear the water as day broke Friday. Up to seven pumps were being used Friday morning and more could be on the way as crews clear the water and deal with sediment build up, reported KYW Newsradio's Tim Jimenez.

There was still no timetable for when I-676 would reopen due to the muddy mess on the roadway.

“The next biggest challenge is to clean up the mud in that we have in that area,” Gramian said Friday.

PennDOT was working with the City of Philadelphia and the Water Department to clear the roadway. Compressors would be needed to clear the pavement. One more hurdle must then be cleared.

“Obviously, once we clean up we have to inspect before we fully open it to the public,” Gramian said.

Data released by the National Weather Service shows unofficial rain totals from Ida as of September 2. Click on each data point to see the observed total.

Data: NWS Philadelphia • Nina Lin / NBC

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