Traffic alert: Bridges to close as Bush passes underneath

Inquirer staff writer Peter Mucha reports:

The Walt Whitman and Ben Franklin Bridges will be closed in both directions twice today as President Bush's motorcade heads north from Philadelphia International Airport for a visit to a school in Northern Liberties.

The sun rising behind the Ben Franklin Bridge in Old City early this morning. (Staff photo/Tom Gralish)

He's expected to leave the airport around 9:45 a.m., and the motorcade should pass under the Walt Whitman about 9:55 and the Ben Franklin around 10 a.m., according to Ed Kasuba, spokesman for the Delaware River Port Authority.

The bridges will be closed for about 10 to 15 minutes each as Bush's motorcade travels under the bridges.

Midday, the bridges will again be closed after Bush heads back to the airport, following his visit to Kearny School, where he's marking the anniversary of his No Child Left Behind program.

Bush is scheduled to leave Kearny at 11:55 a.m., so the bridges should have their closures shortly after that.

The Ben Franklin Bridge's footwalk will be closed from about 9:15 a.m. until after Bush has passed on his way back to the airport, according to Kasuba.

Joining Bush at the event, which include a classroom tour and a roundtable discussion, will be wife Laura, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, Al Sharpton, superintendent  Arlene Ackerman and School Reform Commission chair Sandra Dungree Glenn.

For more, read "Kearny School excitedly preps for Bush visit," by Kristen A. Graham.  

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