The Secret Service and other agencies have discussed the possibility of closing the Ben Franklin Bridge to traffic during Pope Francis' visit in September.

A decision has not been made, a Secret Service spokesman said Tuesday, though the Delaware River Port Authority said closure was not in the plan "right now."

"If a decision is made at some point to do that, we will certainly make everyone aware as quickly as possible," DRPA spokesman Kyle Anderson said. "Right now that's not in the plan."

Talk has swirled among emergency responders in New Jersey in recent weeks about the possibility of the bridge's being open only to pedestrians, so more people can cross from Camden into Philadelphia on foot when Francis visits Sept. 26 and 27.

Robert Hoback, a Secret Service spokesman, said that he could not discuss pedestrians, but that "all options are being talked about."

If a decision were made to close the bridge to traffic, the Secret Service would make it in conjunction with New Jersey and Pennsylvania officials, he said.

"It wouldn't be solely made by the Secret Service," Hoback said. Any determination would likely come in the next month, he said.

Anderson, the DRPA spokesman, said one factor would be whether roads leading to or away from the bridge are shut down.

Richard Kirkpatrick, a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation spokesman, said the agency had no details about possible road closures.

In Camden County, officials on Wednesday are expected to discuss traffic and cooperation among law enforcement agencies during Francis' visit.

Specific road closures will not be discussed because the plans are not final, said Andy McNeil, a spokesman for the Camden County Prosecutor's Office.

A news conference is scheduled for 11 a.m. at the county's Emergency Operations Center in Lindenwold.

Security planning for the pope's visit began even before the visit was confirmed in November, and the Secret Service meets daily with federal, state, and local agencies.


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