Security screening on the Benjamin Franklin Bridge for the papal visit next month won't be done by the Secret Service or Philadelphia police, the Secret Service said Friday.
The bridge will be closed to all but pedestrian traffic for the papal visit, and all visitors will be screened, according to local law enforcement officers briefed on the plans.
The Delaware River Port Authority, which operates the bridge, has declined to disclose its security plans for the bridge. Camden County officials have said visitors can expect long lines and "some inconvenience."
"What visitors should expect is some type of law enforcement presence on the bridge to ensure those who wish to cross can do so in a safe and expeditious manner," the Secret Service said in a statement Friday.
"We don't have anything to do with security at the Ben Franklin Bridge. Why would we?" Secret Service spokesman Robert Hoback said Friday. "We don't control the bridge."
John Hanson, chief executive of the DRPA, complained publicly last week that the DRPA and other agencies were frustrated about their inability to make security decisions until the Secret Service announced what it was going to do.
"Visitors to the City of Brotherly Love will not see magnetometers waiting for them on the bridge, nor will they see Secret Service or City of Philadelphia 'screening stations,' " the Secret Service said in its statement, without addressing what would be done by other agencies, such as the DRPA or Camden County police forces.
The bridge will be closed to vehicle traffic from 10 p.m. Sept. 25 to noon Sept. 28.