95 NB approaching PHL coming to grinding halt with Police Checkpoint up ahead pic.twitter.com/nyn0kiOgYw— Bob Kelly (@bobkellytraffic) July 25, 2016
It’s a highway commuter’s morning nightmare—lines of gridlocked vehicles, with no end in sight. Travelers on Philadelphia’s chunk of Interstate 95 have been facing this for days, stuck in stop-and-go traffic while the Democratic National Convention clamors on nearby.
But this particular snarl isn’t due to pileups, protests, or even straight-up closed roads (though there are all of those, too.) “Basically, it’s because tons of truck drivers violated a Secret Service weight restriction,” writes Anna Orso at Billy Penn. As she explains, because of the DNC, the top brass has banned trucks over 5 tons from a particular nine-exit stretch of I-95. The ban includes everything from delivery trucks to cement mixers.
A bunch of drivers didn’t get the memo, though, and so the Pennsylvania State Police have been eyeballing trucks, and redirecting them if they’re over the limit. Meanwhile, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has taken one lane out of commission, so that the rule-breaking trucks can use it to leave.
This has clogged things up pretty well for everyone else, now squeezed into three lanes instead of four. There is a bright spot, though: “Traffic backups on I-95 North and South were shorter yesterday morning than they were during Monday morning’s rush, and shorter this morning than they were Tuesday morning,” says PennDOT Assistant Press Secretary Gene Blaum. Fear not, Philly drivers—you’ll get there eventually.
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Update, 7/27: The original version of this article relied on inaccurate information from BillyPenn.com—there are no weigh stations, just officers eyeballing and rerouting overweight trucks. The article has been changed to reflect this. Thanks to Gene Blaum of PennDOT for the correction, and we regret the error.