Here's what you need to know about I-76 east, SEPTA trolley tunnel closures

Rachel Kurland
August 08, 2019 - 4:19 pm

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UPDATED: Aug. 9, 6 p.m.

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — SEPTA and PennDOT have some construction projects that could throw a wrench into your weekend travel plans.

First, Starting at 10 p.m. Friday, the SEPTA trolley tunnel linking West Philly and Center City will close for 10 days for repairs and track replacement. Route 10, 11, 13, 34 and 36 trolleys will divert to 40th and Market streets until Monday, Aug. 19, at 5 a.m. More information is available at SEPTA.org.

This happens every year, and most people who spoke to KYW Newsradio said they're used to it. 

"I don't know what to say, because it's like, I have to go to work, so it's like ... I dont know. It's going to be a little trouble, to be honest," said Daniel, who just learned of the closure Friday morning.

He said he'll have to Uber in to Center City. Those rides can add up, but he says it's not that big a deal, just 10 days of trouble. 

Next, if you plan on driving eastbound on I-76 this weekend, you may want to prepare yourself for a lot of traffic and detours. And trolley transit between Center City and West Philly will be shut down for 10 days starting Friday night.

I-76 east will be closed between the 30th Street and South Street interchanges, from 11 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday, as PennDOT is repairing and repaving a section of the Schuylkill Expressway viaduct. Starting at 9 p.m. Friday, the expressway will be reduced to a single lane to prepare for the closure.

Drivers have a couple options for detour routes:

  • You can continue east on I-676 and take I-95 south to access I-76, or;
  • Take the 30th Street exit, which goes around the train station. Turn right on Market Street, left on 38th Street, and straight on University Avenue to 34th Street in order to access the I-76 east ramp.

During the weekend repairs, the I-76 east ramp at Walnut Street will also be closed. Drivers will be directed to follow Walnut Street, then follow the above directions to I-76 east.

After the weekend, PennDOT will enact intermittent closures throughout weeknights, so prepare for even more traffic.

According to PennDOT:

  • I-76 east will be reduced to a single lane between I-676 and South Street, Monday through Thursday, from 9 p.m. to 5  a.m. the following morning.
  • I-76 west will be reduced to a single lane between 30th Street and I-676, Monday through Friday, starting at 9 p.m. The interchange will then completely close, Monday through Friday, from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. the following morning.
  • During the day, there will be other periodic closures on I-76 west near the ramp to 30th Street, Monday through Friday, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The scheduled overnight closures of I-76 west may be adjusted to accommodate people leaving the South Philadelphia Sports Complex for games.

PennDOT crews will be working on overhead structure demolition, concrete placement and painting throughout the week. Repairs to the Schuylkill Avenue viaduct are part of a $103.6 million project.

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KYW Newsradio's Mike Dougherty and Andrew Kramer contruibuted to this report.