I called the 59/20 road closure hotline: Here’s what happened

I20-59 Detour Sign
I20-59 Detour Sign
Get ready for the detours (Christine Hull/Bham Now)

The Road Closures Are Here

Unfortunately, the I-59/20 bridge and road closures have arrived, prompting the Alabama Department of Transportation to activate their road closure hotline. The purpose of the call center, which will be fully manned by ALDOT employees 24/7, is to help confused drivers navigate around the road closures. The closures will constantly change the detour routes, making this a fun game of whack-a-mole for us all!

Find An Alternate Route

ALDOT has been urging people to find alternate routes for weeks. And you guys, they mean it. Less than 24 hours into this road work process, I found myself in the car and needing an alternate route – with no pre-planned alternate route in mind.  The Red Mountain Expressway exit I needed to get off in order to continue to Nashville was closed, and I was a sitting duck. Quack.

The problem is that apps like Waze can’t help you just yet. As of Saturday, the route Waze was trying to take us was incorrect, as Red Mountain Expressway was closed.  Google Maps also tried to take us through the closed road, but did update to the correct route by Sunday morning. While ALDOT is working with these apps, there is a chance you’ll get inaccurate information in the first few weeks.

You don’t think the rules apply to you, and then they smack you right in the face. I can’t say this enough. Find your alternate route before you go!

https://5920bridge.com/

Find your route. Bookmark this page and check back each day — there’s a good chance your route will change frequently.

Calling The Hotline

Right now the call center is your best bet if caught in a pinch and unable to consult the website, especially with Waze being unreliable. So, being in the pinch I was, I gave the hotline a call.

I dialed them up and it only took two rings for the nicest ALDOT employee to answer, identify where I was, where I was going and how to get there. She got me turned around within 30 seconds — with gusto.

Through all of this, I can’t tell you how refreshing it was to have another human with maps and answers just a call away. (Only do this if you can do so hands free while driving.)

(205) 346-5080

Put the hot line number in your phone. You won’t be sorry!

And remember, be nice to each other come Tuesday morning. We’ll get through this, Birmingham!