This summer's installation of a protected bike lane through the Fifth Street tunnel was met with cheers from Philadelphia's cycling community.

But six months later, the flexible delineator posts that create a barrier between cyclists and motorists have been removed, temporarily.

The posts have been taken out for the winter to allow for snow plowing operations, according to Mike Williams, spokesman for the Delaware River Port Authority, which maintains the tunnel under the Ben Franklin Bridge.

The removal of the posts allows the full roadway, including the bike lane, to be plowed. The barriers will be reinstalled in the spring, Williams said.

The news of the removal comes as Philadelphia braces for what could the region's first real snowfall of the winter, expected overnight Thursday into early Friday.

The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia says its research director, John Boyle, is the head of DRPA's Citizen's Advisory Board and plans to ask at an upcoming meeting about purchasing a small bike-lane plow so the posts can stay up throughout the winter.

Clearing snow from protected bike lanes is a challenge for cities because the lanes are too narrow for most standard snow plows, according to the advocacy group People for Bikes, which notes that cities have found a range of different methods for dealing with the issue.