Broad Street shutdown

May 23, 2008 3:27:37 PM PDT
For the next eight days, motorists will have to find their way around detours on a busy stretch of North Broad Street. There were some motorists visibly annoyed by the detours but traffic flow has been relatively fine in this key section of North Broad, shut down because of major demolition work to make way for convention center expansion.

At dawn, northbound traffic on Broad was halted between Race Street and JFK Boulevard, and southbound between Race and Arch.

Five days a week, roughly 30,000 cars drive up and down this least half that on weekends, holidays, and getaway Fridays like this one. But watch out for tuesday morning's rush hour...

"When the holiday's over, it could be a problem," says one Philadelphia police officer.

This first day of an 8-day shutdown did find drivers taking it in stride but they know volume will make a big difference after Memorial Day.

This afternoon demolition crews took the old wrecking ball to the Broad Street side of the old Odd Fellows Temple, built in 1893.

Since it's made of materials that crumble it cannot be imploded into a neat pile, and it's not strong enough to take the equipment to bring it down floor by floor.

That's why broad will be shut down for a total of 8 protect motorists from falling debris.

"We'll work around the clock to make sure we get it done," said Joe Resta of the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

The truth is this is one of Center City's most congested sections.

And it will continue to be, after the detours for this phase of the massive Convention Center project come down.