By Jim Melwert
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The big race isn’t until Sunday, but Marathon weekend here in Philadelphia officially kicks off today as many of the over 30,000 runners and 60,000 spectators arrive in town.
This is the 19th annual Philadelphia Marathon, ribbon cutting to officially kick off events this morning at 11 a.m. at the Convention Center, with the Health and Fitness Expo.
City spokeswoman Melanie Johnson says the 26.2 mile course touches all parts of the city from the Art Museum to Old City to Manayunk.
“It’s a really big event for Philadelphia, it really gives us a chance to showcase our beautiful city.”
Not only is this a very popular course for runners, it’s also considered one of the best for spectators.
But, of course with the marathon comes all kinds of road closures, especially during the race on Sunday.
An announcement from the Philadelphia Streets Department says, “Delays can be expected and motorists are advised to avoid these areas, or proceed with extreme caution during race weekend.”
Some of the major areas impacted include:
The inner lanes of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Friday, November 16 through Sunday, November 18.
Citywide along the 26.2-mile route of the Philadelphia Marathon on Sunday, November 18
The inner drives of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway will be closed, from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., on Friday, November 16. At 3:30 p.m., two of the westbound lanes will be opened for the afternoon rush hour. At 6:30 p.m., the inner lanes of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway will be closed continuously, from 6:30 p.m. on Friday, November 16 through the completion of Marathon Weekend on Sunday, November 18, and will be reopen on Sunday, November 18 at 4 p.m.
Street closures will be in effect — from 4 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday, November 17 — in the vicinity of Eakins Oval (on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway (from 18th Street to Eakins Oval) and also near Martin Luther King Drive.
On Sunday, November 18, streets will be closed, from 4 a.m. to 4 p.m. near Eakins Oval and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, from 20th Street to Eakins Oval (23rd Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway).
The following streets will be closed at 6:45 a.m. on Sunday, November 18, and will reopen, as runners pass through the race course. All race routes will remain closed until 4 p.m.
21st Street, from Spring Garden to Arch streets
22nd Street, from Spring Garden to Arch streets
Benjamin Franklin Parkway, from 22nd to 16th streets
Arch Street between 16th to 4th streets
4th Street Arch to Vine streets
Race Street, from 4th Street to Columbus Boulevard
Columbus Boulevard (Southbound lanes), Vine Street to Washington Avenue
Southbound off-ramp, from I-95 at Washington Avenue
Washington Avenue, from Columbus Boulevard to Front Street
Front Street, from Washington Avenue to South Street
South Street, Front to 6th streets
6th Street, Bainbridge to Market streets
Chestnut Street, 6th to 34th streets
34th Street, Chestnut Street to Girard Avenue
Lansdowne Drive, Girard Avenue to South Concourse Drive
South Concourse Drive, Lansdowne Drive to West Memorial Hall Drive
West Memorial Hall Drive, South Concourse to Avenue of the Republic
Avenue of the Republic, West Memorial Hall Drive to Centennial Circle
Old Lansdowne Drive to the Sweetbriar Loop
Martin Luther King Drive
The Falls Bridge
Ridge Avenue, Schoolhouse Lane to Manayunk Avenue
Main Street, Ridge Avenue to Green Lane
Motorists and pedestrians can expect significant delays when trying to cross roads on or adjacent to the course. Police will allow traffic through intersections along the course, when possible, depending on the flow of the race participants. All streets that are not a part of the official marathon race route will be reopened by at least 6 p.m. on Sunday, November 18.
The race is also forcing SEPTA to detour service. The following bus routes will be affected:
· Saturday, Nov. 17, Philadelphia Kids Marathon: Bus routes 7, 32, 33, 38, 43 and 48 will be detoured from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.
· Sunday, Nov. 18, Philadelphia Marathon: Starting at 6 a.m., bus routes 4, 7, 9, 12,16, 21, 25, 27, 32, 33, 35, 38, 40, 42, 43, 48, 57, 61, 64, 65, 124/125 and R will be detoured. Buses will resume regular service as soon as possible after the race.
To get updates in real time, go to SEPTA.org.