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Shifting gears for speed: ALDOT’s role in a smooth Talladega race weekend

ALDOT personnel set up cones to assist with traffic congestion surrounding the Talladega Superspeedway
Apr 23

Twice a year, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, better known as NASCAR, brings its famous auto races to Talladega, and the Alabama Department of Transportation is there to help.

The Talladega Superspeedway is located between several major, state-maintained routes, including I-20, US-78, SR-21, and SR-77. Prior to each race, the Alabama Department of Transportation installs temporary signs on these routes near the track to help traffic move as efficiently as possible. According to the Encyclopedia of Alabama, attendance at Talladega races can reach 170,000 as fans fill the grandstand and watch from the infield.

ALDOT places eight to ten message boards to guide traffic before, during, and after the race and works to ensure that all traffic control devices are in good condition to ensure the best protection of all road users.

On days of the races, ALDOT personnel work alongside Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) personnel to guide traffic by closing and shifting lanes as needed to accommodate the influx of heavy traffic in the area.

Sometimes, a contraflow lane reversal is needed to expedite traffic from major routes into the superspeedway. During a contraflow, traffic temporarily travels in the opposite direction of the normal traffic flow. Contraflow requires a great deal of communication between ALDOT, ALEA, and track representatives.

During a race, ALDOT crews move overhead signs, relocate or adjust messages on message boards, and place temporary traffic devices to prepare for heavy outbound traffic to the major routes in central Alabama.

Once the checkered flag waves and the race is over, ALDOT personnel are still on site to work with ALEA, directing traffic in another contraflow lane reversal to help race fans get safely home.