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.
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.
What to do with this outdated viaduct has been a topic of conversation for a long while now.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.