Martin Luther King Drive Bridge to remain closed due to rehab construction

PHILADELPHIA – The City announced on Tuesday, July 20 that Martin Luther King (MLK) Drive will be opened to vehicular traffic beginning on Wednesday, August 4 at 5 p.m. However, due to repairs needed to MLK Bridge, the Drive will remain closed south of Sweetbriar Drive until rehab construction is completed.

“An inspection to the underside of the MLK bridge found one of the connections of the steel framing to be about 75 percent deteriorated. As a result, we will have to keep the bridge closed to traffic until the rehab construction,” said Deputy Managing Director for Transportation, Mike Carroll. “For now, the bridge can stay open and is still safe for pedestrians and bicycles, but no motor vehicles will be able to use the bridge until the full rehabilitation project is complete.”

The City is working with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) to provide electronic, variable message signs in the affected area. There will also be support from traffic police at the signal of Girard and Lansdowne. “We continue to work closely with City Council and Philadelphia Police to ensure a smooth official reopening of MLK Drive,” added Carroll. 

Based on the pre-pandemic seasonal pattern, the City will continue to close the Drive 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. Any special events on the bridge will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

Given the progress of design work that has been underway over the past year and a half, the repair project is expected to be completed in 2024.