By Jim Melwert

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Starting today, tractor trailers and tankers carrying hazardous chemicals are banned from the Platt Bridge in Southwest Philadelphia.

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The ban will be in effect for the next two years. Commercial trucks of 14,000 pounds or more, and any vehicles with hazardous materials will be prohibited from the Platt Bridge, which is Route 291 in Southwest Philadelphia.

PennDOT spokesman Gene Blaum says they’re working to get the word out to area truckers.

“We’re also going to put message boards on the eastbound Schuylkill Expressway to capture that eastbound traffic on I-76 to redirect those trucks onto either I-95 or take them over to Passyunk Avenue.”

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Blaum says I-95 is the main alternate in each direction.

“If you’re coming from 26th Street, you’ll follow Penrose Avenue to Pattison, do a south on Broad Street, to take I-95 south and you’ll follow I-95 south to the Enterprise Avenue exit, and from Enterprise Avenue which leads you onto Island Avenue and back to Route 291.”

Blaum says the ban is all about safety, as construction has traffic on the Platt in cattle shutes in one lane in each direction, and emergency crews have said it will be all but impossible to quickly respond to a serious accident.

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