HomeVoorhees NewsMayor’s Column: Expect travel delays with Pope Francis visit

Mayor’s Column: Expect travel delays with Pope Francis visit

Voorhees Mayor

Pope Francis will be visiting Philadelphia at the end of September and his arrival is anticipated to be the largest event in Philadelphia history, with more than 2 million people expected to visit the area during the Pope’s stay.

The Pontiff will be spending Thursday, Sept. 24 and Friday, Sept. 25 in New York City. The Pope will be arriving at the Philadelphia International Airport at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 26. He will attend Mass at Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul at 10:30 a.m. and is scheduled to visit Independence Mall at 4:45 p.m. His last event of the day is a visit to Festival of Families and World Meeting of Families at 7:30 p.m. On Sunday, his first scheduled activity is a meeting at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary at 9:15 a.m. followed by an 11 a.m. visit to the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility. The Pope will hold Mass for the World Meeting of Families at 4 p.m. and departs for Rome at 8 p.m.

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The New Jersey Department of Transportation estimates more than 250,000 additional cars will be traveling through our state that weekend, which will generate the equivalent of 110 to 430 lane miles of bumper to bumper traffic each day.

During this weekend, prepare for extensive travel delays and road closures as the area accommodates this historic event. The Ben Franklin Bridge will be closed to vehicular traffic starting at 10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25 and is not expected to reopen for vehicles until noon Monday, Sept. 28. The bridge will only be open to pedestrians and bicycles during this time. Due to the bridge closure, NJDOT will close I-676 northbound from Exit 3 to the Ben Franklin Bridge, as well as Route 30 (White Horse Pike) westbound from the Airport Circle (Route 38/Route 130). Motorists looking to cross into Philadelphia should follow posted detours and electronic message signs.

PATCO will provide nonstop service to Center City Philadelphia from the Lindenwold, Woodcrest, Ferry Avenue and Broadway Stations only. Parking at PATCO stations will be extremely limited and Freedom Cards that can be used during this time must be purchased in advance; there will be no day of event sales. For more information visit www.ridepatco.org/PapalVisit.

For area bus service, Atlantic City Rail Line service and River Line service information, visit www.njtransit.com and click the link for “The 2015 Visit of Pope Francis.”

If you are planning on traveling anywhere in the area from Friday, Sept. 25 through Monday, Sept. 28, please check road and public transportation websites before you travel. The Voorhees Township webpage has links for public service accessibility at www.Voorheesnj.com.

Since Cherry Hill officials expect a heavy volume of vehicular and pedestrian traffic in the Woodcrest Station area, the northbound lane of Burnt Mill Road between Woodcrest Drive and Haddonfield-Berlin Road will be closed.

If you are traveling to see the Pope, please be prepared to walk up to several miles and be aware that private vehicles are not a viable option. Parking will be virtually nonexistent and public transportation services will be altered. It is best to bring water, food, comfortable shoes and a flashlight as walking back may be in the dark.

Our police have been working with the Philadelphia Police Department, the DRPA, NJ DOT, New Jersey and Pennsylvania State Police and the Federal Government to ensure the safety of our residents and the visitors expected during this event. In preparation for the event, our police station has been the site of several meetings of these groups.

Additional information can be obtained by visiting www.state.nj.us/transportation/commuter/events/papal.shtm, www.worldmeeting2015.org and www.njtransit.com.

• Our Summer Twilight Series concludes with our annual Movie Night in the Park on Saturday, Sept. 12. “Despicable Me 2” will be shown on a state of the art digital LED screen. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. at Connolly Park and is free.

• The 7th Annual Chad Gunther Memorial Dinner will be held on Saturday, Sept. 19 at the E Lounge, 807 Route 70 West in Cherry Hill. Cocktail hour begins at 6 p.m. followed by dinner and dancing at 7 p.m. Entertainment will be provided by All Around Entertainment DJ Specialist. Tickets are $58 per person. This year, the organization plans to continue to support youth athletic and community programs in Voorhees and Gibbsboro, including the Voorhees Girls Softball Association and the Bancroft Special Olympics. Tickets can be purchased by contacting Peter Oteri at peterjoteri@me.com, Sherry Berman-Robinson at sbermanrobinson@aol.com, or Steve Becker at stevebecker911@msn.com. Donations can be sent to the Chad Gunther Memorial Fund at P.O. Box 404, Voorhees, New Jersey 08043. For more information call (856) 783–8789.


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