From Thursday through July 17, hazardous materials carriers will be prohibited from traveling on Interstate 59/20 through downtown Birmingham, Alabama during the opening ceremony of the World Games.

According to a directive from the US Secret Service, the affected portion of I-59/20 runs from Interstate 65 east of the EB Stephens Freeway (US Highway 310), according to the Alabama Department of Transportation.

ALDOT said digital signs on various routes across the state will alert haulers transporting dangerous goods to use Interstate 459 to bypass downtown Birmingham. It’s unclear what effort the agency has made to notify out-of-state trucking companies that may be surprised by the route change.

Map courtesy of Alabama Trucking Association

According to Ford Boswell, spokesman for the Alabama Trucking Association, the detour will take truckers several miles out of their way, but enforcement will be strict for dump trucks on the restricted route. liberation sent to members of the organization.

“This limited stretch of interstate actually rises above an area where thousands of people will be walking as part of the World Games,” Boswell told FreightWaves. “The reason for the restriction is to prevent any hazardous load accidents that could occur on an interstate where hundreds of thousands of people can congregate, and there are other safety concerns.”

The interstate bridges through downtown Birmingham tower over the city’s central business district, which includes Legacy Arena, Protective Stadium and the Uptown Entertainment District, Ford said.

At the time of publication, ALDOT had not responded to FreightWaves’ request for information on how many commercial vehicles transporting hazardous materials could be affected by having to detour through downtown Birmingham.

Photo credit: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

The world games, Postponed a year ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it will attract 3,600 athletes from more than 100 countries and could attract up to 500,000 spectators from around the world to Birmingham, according to the Games website.

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