Who’s to blame for massive traffic jam on I-95 around Philly?

Traffic was at a near standstill for much of Monday morning on I-95 outside Philadelphia.

PHILADELPHIA — I-95 outside the city was jammed more than most days Monday morning.

You might think a 10-car pileup in the Riverwards area is to blame — but you’d be wrong. Look instead toward a new traffic pattern the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation PennDOT instituted over the weekend. Basically, it’s because lots of truck drivers violated a Secret Service weight restriction.

As part of the security plan for the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, State Police are enforcing a ban on trucks that weigh more than five tons — meaning every truck is being weighed at a checkpoint near where the Vine Street Expressway and I-95 meet and at one near the airport, according to PennDOT spokesman Gene Blaum.

Let’s reiterate that point — every single truck on I-95 is being weighed. And that’ll slow things down.

A guide to day one of the Democratic convention.

To make matters worse, PennDOT instituted a new traffic pattern in the area, cutting the number of lanes from four to three. That was put into place over the weekend because, despite 100 signs throughout the region, so many truck drivers had violated the weight ban that an entire lane was dedicated to reroute them off of I-95.

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Any trucks over the five-ton weight limit that are traveling south are being rerouted west on the Vine Street Expressway, then to eastbound 76, to 26th Street, to the intersection at Penrose Avenue, then over the Platt bridge onto 95 South. Northbound trucks are rerouted the same way, but backward.

In addition, a number of closures on I-95 will be enforced by PennDOT. Most of the restrictions are for large commercial vehicles, but the I-95 exit ramp at Broad Street (Route 611/ Exit 17) will have closures:.

  • Northbound: From Friday, July 22, at 10 p.M. Until midday Friday, July 29.
  • Southbound: Open intermittently during convention week, but only for access to the Navy Yard.
  • A 10-car pileup shortly after 8 a.M. In the northbound lanes at the Cottman Avenue exit didn’t help maters Monday morning, and only one lane was able to pass through the area for a period of time. No one was reported to have been injured.

    Blaum recommended I-95 travelers either find another route to get in and out of the city or pad their travel time significantly for the week. He also said commuters can check 511pa.Com, which shows traffic backups in real time.

    The five-ton restriction on commercial vehicles will be in effect until Friday.