By November 2020 the 59/20 bridge project in Birmingham will be finished. These 11 photos are truly art gallery worthy.

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The bridge project is actually quite pretty in pictures.
The lines. The curves. The colors. From ALDOT

We’ve got 59/20 bridge project photos for you! The latest update from ALDOT is in, and they predict that the entire 59/20 bridge project will be complete by November 2020. Don’t worry—they still expect traffic to be on the bridges by March 2020, which is less time than it takes to carry a baby to term.

To celebrate this milestone, we decided to collect 11 of our favorite photos from the construction project so far to share with you. Consider it your own personal art gallery for construction nerds. You’re welcome.

“It won’t be like this for long”

But first, speaking of carrying babies to term, just over 10 years ago, when I was in labor, this was the song I listened to. Non-stop.

For what it’s worth, it didn’t help a lot, but it sure was a sweet song. So as I looked through the media gallery of pictures through the life of this project, I have to admit I got a little nostalgic.

I still remember when my kids were smaller and we had to stop at every construction project to watch with rapt attention. I never learned so much about mega-trucks in my life . . . but I digress.

1— 59/20 bridge photo: these reminded us of chickens pecking

The initial demolition on the 59/20 bridge project reminded us of chickens pecking.
Don’t these look like chickens looking for a snack? Photo from ALDOT

Before construction comes demolition. We loved watching what looked like hungry chickens pecking away at the old bridges.

2—First, they had to take everything down

The initial demolition was kind of pretty in its order.
Demolition downtown. Photo by ALDOT

When demolition is intentional, there’s a kind of ordered beauty in the rubble.

3— 59/20 bridge project photo: everything can be drawn with a line and a curve

Everything can be drawn with a line and a curve, including the 59/20 bridge project.
Lines and curves. Photo by ALDOT

This was one of the first things my kids learned when they began to do art at their school. So simple, and yet so true. You can see it all over this project: lines and curves.

4—when highway construction looks like a layer cake

Who knew so much went into creating the 59/20 bridge project?
Make sure to spread the asphalt evenly. . . Photo by ALDOT

I for one had no idea how many layers go into creating bridges and roads.

5— 59/20 bridge photo: it didn’t have to be this colorful

I’m sure it’s nothing personal, Alabama fans. Photo by ALDOT

Whoever made these structures colorful was a genius. Against grey or blue skies, they’ve added flair to what otherwise could look awfully drab.

6—Wouldn’t it be cool to climb that scaffolding?

Such a cool scaffolding in the 50/20 bridge project.
How high do you think that thing is? Photo by ALDOT

Once, we walked behind the scoreboard at Rickwood, where we saw actual humans who’d climbed up to change the numbers. Can you imagine climbing up this scaffolding on the side of one of the bridges?

7— 59/20 bridge photo: all the lines and colors

The 59/20 bridge project photos are truly art gallery worthy.
Love that wall. Photo by ALDOT

It’s just so pretty, really.

8—also, curves

The 59/20 bridge project photos include curves before the concrete pour.
Curves before the concrete pour. Photo by ALDOT

Simple elegance, this one.

9— 59/20 bridge project photo: before the “closure pour”

The gap between the segments of the bridge project will soon be filled.
This little gap will soon be filled with concrete. Photo by ALDOT

So this is the big thing that’s happening now. See that thin strip of light between the two big sections? They’re filling those in with “closure pours.” We’ll give you a top and a bottom view so you can see what we’re talking about.

10—the art of the “closure pour”

The 59/20 bridge project will be complete soon.
The closure pour is so old school. Photo by ALDOT

This is what a “closure pour” looks like from the top. I included this picture because it’s so admittedly low-tech and kind of old-fashioned looking.

11— 59/20 bridge photo: what the closure pours look like from underneath

The closure pour as seen from below.
The closure pour from underneath. Photo by ALDOT

And here’s a view from underneath. See that wooden ladder-looking structure? That’s what helps hold the concrete as they pour it and it sets.


We hope you’ve enjoyed this little photo walk down memory lane as much as we have. Just remember, it won’t be like this for long. In the meantime, you can get all the latest updates here:

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Author: Sharron Mendel Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference