ALDOT Announces official closure date for I-59/20 bridge

Birmingham Malfunction Junction
Birmingham Malfunction Junction
Rendering of Malfunction Junction in Birmingham after ALDOT completes its bridge project. Graphic by ALDOT

The wait is over, Birmingham commuters. It’s finally happening. Construction (and the inevitable closure) on the Interstate 59/20 bridge will begin within the week.

This is Getting Real, Folks.

As long as weather permits, The Alabama Department of Transportation plans to start closing the bridge on Friday, January 18. Full closure will take place by Monday, January 21. This stretch of interstate ranks as one of the busiest in the state.

Photo of the 59/20 Bridge that will be taken down starting this Friday. Via ALDOT

City officials expect the section of the interstate that runs downtown to be closed minimum one full year, and maximum 14 months. If the work is completed early, the contractors will receive a $15 million dollar bonus. If they take longer than the allotted time, they will be penalized.


We previously reported detours and alternate routes to ease the pain of these closings, but here’s the gist. I-459 may be your new best friend. Many local (and possibly more scenic? I don’t know, just looking on the bright side here) routes are available for the duration of the closure. And when in doubt, head to 5920bridge.com for all the details you could possibly need on this project.

Birmingham Interstate 59/20 Bridge construction in December 2018. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

What to do with this outdated viaduct has been a topic of conversation for a long while now. The bridge, also known as “Malfunction Junction,” was built in 1971. It was designed to hold half the amount of traffic it does today. ALDOT posts updates and briefings on this project each month, and have been doing so since mid-2016.

Birmingham natives, how are you preparing for the closure of Brudge 59/20-one of the busiest bridges in the state?