INGLEWOOD (CBSLA) — As local law enforcement agencies ramp up on security in advance for Super Bowl LVI on Sunday, many security concerns still surround the big game, including a new potential traffic threat that may force football fans into a frenzy.
A planned protest by truckers similar to the group in Canada referring to themselves as "The Freedom Convoy," with outspoken opposition to vaccination mandates, is reportedly ready to cover the entire span of the United States in coming months, with potential to end up in the Los Angeles area just in time for the Super Bowl. According to CNN, the American convoy of truckers plans to set out in California in mid-February, with the intent of ending up in Washington D.C. by mid-March.
The Department of Homeland Security has issued an alert for the group's movement, which may disrupt traffic surrounding the game on Sunday. Part of the alert read:
"DHS is tracking reports of a potential convoy that may be planning to travel to several U.S. cities. We have not observed specific calls for violence within the United States associated with this convoy, and are working closely with our federal, state, and local partners to continuously assess the threat environment and keep our communities safe."
In Canada, hundreds of truckers have gathered to disrupt traffic throughout Ottawa, prompting a declaration of a state of emergency in the nation's capital.
SoFi Stadium neighbors have already dealt with a myriad of traffic issues in recent years since the arena's construction began, but this new potential threat has city and government officials on high alert.
On top of that, many Inglewood residents have reported illegal street and driveway parking opportunities to those will-be attendees on Sunday who are looking for more convenient and cheaper parking options, in comparison to the record-high rates at SoFi for the Super Bowl, which are selling at an average of $5,000 per parking spot.
"They invite anyone, they don't know who it is, we don't know who's coming through the gate," said one Inglewood resident who lives in a gated community, "They're not friends ... and they're letting them in."
Another resident shared those same frustrations, with a long list of complications they've seen so far, "We've been inundated with cars being hit, trash being thrown on the floor, people parking outside of the brackets, people parking illegally - in front of fire hydrants..."
But not all is bad with the looming Super Bowl, as both Los Angeles County and Inglewood are set to experience a massive boom in business, to the tune of a potential $477 million dollars for the county, and $52 million for Inglewood.
Small business owners are among those most excited for the crowds descending upon their community, including Tyson Baker, the brand ambassador for the Inglewood Store, with products all inspired by the city he loves. He displayed one of his favorite products to CBS reporters, a sweatshirt branded with a large "I," detailing that, "It stands for 'I am amazing,' 'I am positive,' 'I am strong,' 'I am encouraging,' and 'I am all about Inglewood."
Baker is also offering shuttle services and parking spots at various commercial lots around the city.
He isn't the only small business owner that stands to make a profit with the increased foot traffic and influx of visitors. "The traffic has been incredible," said Brandon Furman, who owns Gettin' Faded Barbershop. "A lot of people flying in, it's been awesome," he continued.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is one of the many in full support of both SoFi Stadium's location and the community surrounding the home of two NFL teams. On Wednesday, he made it clear that he wouldn't be surprised to see the big game return in the near future, "One of the things I'm really confident about, sitting here and feeling it this week, is that we really landed in the right spot," he said.
The City of Inglewood is set to be the nation's biggest hotspot this weekend, both literally and figuratively, as potentially record-setting Super Bowl temperatures pair up with the over 100,000 visitors set to flood the streets in coming days.
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