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September 10, 2015

Construction work suspended in papal security zone for pope's visit

All unionized construction workers will get four-day weekend, but have to work overtime before and after visit

You won't hear many jackhammers buzzing or cement trucks beeping in the last weekend of September.

All union construction projects in the papal security zone will be on hold while Pope Francis is in Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council announced Thursday.

"We just didn't want to create any more stress on the security folks nor impede people trying to get around, which will already be restricted as it is," Council spokesperson Frank Keel said.

Construction workers will work extra-long shifts before the Pope arrives to make up for lost time.

They will work 10-hour shifts from Monday, September 21st to Thursday, September 24th, then get a four-day weekend. They'll work 10-hour shifts for the next week as well, before returning to a normal schedule on Monday, October 5th.

The workers will not be paid overtime, as they will still be working 40 hours per week.

“The Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council agreed to this temporary change in our work schedule in honor of Pope Francis’ historic visit to our great city and so as not to add to security concerns or further impede already restricted travel in the impacted zone,” said Building Trades Business Manager Pat Gillespie in a statement.

The security zone, also known as the "traffic box," extends east to west from the Delaware River to 38th Street. Its southern border is South Street and its northern border runs along Spring Garden Street, Ridge Avenue and Girard Avenue.

You can learn more about the traffic box from PhillyVoice's guide to the pope's visit.