Unknown substances force closure of state welcome centers

Stock photo
Stock photo

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Two Alabama welcome centers have been closed by the Alabama Department of Transportation after an unknown substance was found in the restroom soap dispensers.

The two centers, the I-10 West Welcome Center in Baldwin County and the I-65 North Rest Area in Chilton County, were closed Tuesday after officials discovered the unknown substances in the restrooms.

ALDOT's Tony Harris tells WSFA 12 News an investigation is underway.

Personnel at the I-10 Welcome Center reported the substance in the men's restroom Monday afternoon. ALDOT closed that location and ordered an immediate and inspection of the other seven welcome centers and 19 rest areas scattered across the state. Tuesday morning authorities found the second unknown substance at the Chilton County location.

The Alabama Bureau of Investigation was brought into the investigation at that point.

ALDOT says the substances are being tested for identification and that there have been no reports of exposure to vistors. There is also no indication that the two discoveries are related said ALDOT officials.

"We've initiated a proactive response designed to ensure safety at all our rest area facilities, to include increased inspections throughout our facilities and grounds," said Transportation Director Joe McInnes. "We've also communicated with the DOTs in neighboring states to share information."

Both locations will remain closed until more information is known about the substances.