Philadelphia announces reopening date for Martin Luther King Drive

Part of MLK Drive in Philadelphia has been closed since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2021
Martin Luther King Drive reopening to cars this summer
Philadelphia officials say Martin Luther King Drive will be reopening to cars this summer.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The City of Philadelphia has announced the reopening date for MLK Drive, which has been partially closed for more than a year.

Vehicle traffic will return starting at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, August 4, Mayor Jim Kenney's office announced Tuesday.

The date was chosen after consultation with City Council and "successful completion of various infrastructure projects including improvements to the recreational trail, paving, and upgrades to lighting."

The city closed a four-mile stretch of the road in March 2020 to provide more recreational space during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The city also said the time was used to complete a number of projects.

Deputy Managing Director for Transportation Mike Carroll said that includes "a $1.4 million dollar project to completely reconstruct, rehabilitate and widen the recreational trail, including upgrades to drainage, signage, ADA ramps and line striping, which was proposed before the pandemic and will provide a far safer experience for walkers, joggers and cyclists to continue enjoying the riverbank regardless of traffic on the Drive."

The city said MLK Drive will continue to be closed for weekend recreational use and city holidays from Falls Bridge to Eakins Oval starting on Saturday, August 7 at 6 a.m. through the end of October.

City officials said they are also going to:

-Provide training and orientation of partner agencies to support the extension of the closure through to Spring 2022 and to pilot options which include continuous and holiday closures starting in September.

-Evaluate the longer-term sustainable options which may involve procurement of additional equipment and or services over the next six months.