Sections of MLK Drive, Schuylkill River Trail to close for retaining wall rebuild

On Monday the City of Philadelphia announced that parts of Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive and the Schuylkill River Trail will be closed for a few weeks while crews rebuild and strengthen a retaining wall.

A 75-foot section of wall banking the Schuylkill River just south of Paine’s Park failed and fell into the river on August 23rd, compromising and closing the small side path that splinters off from the main trail along that section.

Construction begins December 6th and is set to last until January 20th, 2017. During the rebuilding, the Schuylkill River Trail will close between Paine’s Park and the Race Street trail entrance. Joggers, cyclists, and strollers will be detoured onto 22nd Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway around the closure.

The reconstruction work will also close the eastbound (inbound) lane of MLK Drive from Sweet Briar Drive to the Parkway between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m., leaving small windows for some rush hour traffic. The road closure is necessary to get heavy equipment onto the site, said Parks and Recreation spokesperson Jennifer Crandall.

The retaining wall rebuild was delayed until winter to limit the impact on trail users, said Crandall. The remediation work is necessary to prevent further erosion, which could threaten larger sections of the trail.

About the author

Jim Saksa, Reporter

Jim Saksa is PlanPhilly's transportation reporter, which means he focuses on how Philly bikes, walks, drives, rolls, and rides around the region. 

Jim lives in Point Breeze and has also written for Slate, Philadelphia City Paper, and Philly. He tweets @Saksappeal and you can reach him at

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