Hundreds of bicyclists are expected to be in east Alabama this weekend for the Cheaha Challenge, and emergency officials are warning drivers to be extra alert.

The Cheaha Challenge is the only UCI Gran Fondo World Series event in the United States, so people from all over the world will be in Calhoun County along several roadways.

The Calhoun County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) announced potential traffic impacts on May 20 and 21. The bulk of the bicycle traffic will be on Sunday, May 21.

Bains Gap Road will be closed from 7:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. on that day.

Other areas where drivers should use caution are:

  • Highway 21 in Jacksonville 7:30 a.m. – 8 a.m.

  • Cottaquilla Road 7:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

  • White's Gap Road 7:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. and 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

  • Alabama 9 and U.S. 78 7:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

  • Highway 281 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

"Please remain aware while driving and be sure to allow enough space for cyclists," the EMA said in a statement. "Bicyclists have the same rights as vehicles. Alabama law requires motorists to allow a minimum of three feet of clearance between their vehicle and the bicycle they are passing on the road. When roads are narrow and passing with a 3-foot buffer is not possible, slow down and wait to pass when safe."

To learn more about the Cheaha Challenge, visit

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