HAGERSTOWN—The Tour of Washington County will kick off Friday in downtown Hagerstown, closing some streets for the bicycle race, city officials said.
The city will close six downtown blocks to host the first Tour of Washington County Kick-Off Classic.
The Antietam Velo Club will open its 2011 Tour — a three-day, staged bicycle race — on Friday with three timed races on city streets.
The races will travel a 0.8-mile loop on South Potomac Street, Baltimore Street, Hood Street, Summit Avenue and West Washington Street.
Affected streets will close to traffic at 5 p.m. and will not reopen until 10 p.m., according to a city news release.
Races should conclude by 9:30 p.m., said Karen Giffin, city community affairs manager.
The release said that emergency vehicles will not be able to pass through any of the streets on the race route while the closures are in effect.
But Hagerstown Police Department Sgt. Kevin Simmers, who is in charge of police services for the race, said that in the event of emergency, the race will not prevent fire and emergency service personnel from doing their jobs.
Also, those who must enter or leave the race route will not be prevented from doing so, he said.
“Of course, you are going to be able to get out,” he said previously of those who work or live on the streets scheduled for closure. “We won’t trap you.”
Six police officers, at least four fire police and 10 volunteers from the Velo club will help direct traffic, especially traffic that must enter or leave the area, Simmers said.
City officials warned that detours around the race route could cause traffic congestion.
The Kick-Off Classic also coincides with Wind Down Friday event at The Maryland Theatre.