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Perfect Storm Brewing for Nightmare Traffic in Philadelphia This Summer

Roadwork on 95, coupled with the I-495 bridge closure and the potential for a SEPTA strike could lead to miserable travel conditions in and around Philadelphia this summer.

It will be a “gridlocked summer” on Philadelphia highways, AAA Mid-Atlantic predicts.

“Traffic headaches loom with upcoming I-95 construction in the city, adding to the I-495 closure in Delaware and a potential mass transit strike,” according to AAA.

A four-year, $211.7 million improvement project is planned on I-95 between Girard and Allegheny Avenues.  The project is the second largest construction contract in PennDOT history.

The project will extend the current I-95 construction zone and be built in four stages to keep three travel lanes open in each direction during construction, which is scheduled to finish in summer 2018. 

The I-495 bridge will closed until at least Labor Day, officials have said. 

An inspection of the bridge over the Christina River showed that four of the bridge's 37 support columns were tilted, some as much as four percent out of vertical alignment, DelDOT said. 

Plus, on top of that, a SEPTA strike could happen as soon as Saturday.

"It's a perfect summer storm of travel issues – seasonally high travel volume and Shore traffic up against an I-495 closure and I-95 construction," said Jenny Robinson, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic.  "A SEPTA strike would only add to that traffic flood, and travelers need to allow plenty of time.  Commuters are going to have to get creative, at least temporarily.  This could indeed be a long, hot summer."

AAA offers these tips to help minimize the impact these situations have on your summer travel: 
  • Flex Time – Adjust your work or travel schedule.  Avoid morning and afternoon rush times on the road.
  • Telecommute– Take advantage of work-from-home options.
  • Carpool – Share a ride to work
  • Find alternate routes or transportation

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