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If you commute to downtown Birmingham from Pelham, Helena, Alabaster, Calera and all points south on I-65, your prayers have been answered.
Beginning this week, the Alabama Department of Transportation will start work to expand Interstate -65 from three lanes to four lanes in each direction from Alabaster to I-459.
Shorten Commute and Improve Safety
“The fact that this road project is nearing completion is exciting for the citizens of Shelby County and anyone that travels this major artery,” said former Mayor of Alabaster David Frings, who served the city from 2000 until November 2012.
“The improvements will shorten the commute time for residents and improve the overall safety on the road. This expansion should also be a plus for supporting businesses in the area and recruiting news ones. Proper infrastructure is so important to the commerce of the county and the state of Alabama.”
According to the Birmingham Business Journal, Dunn Construction and Wiregrass Construction were awarded the contract to widen this vital stretch of Interstate. Preliminary work began on July 6 and is expected to be completed in late fall.
On July 12, asphalt leveling and restriping will begin in the northbound, inside lane from 8PM. to 6AM., daily. Once complete, the same operation will take place in the southbound lane.
Fastest Growing Communities in Alabama
The additional lanes on I-65 should help alleviate traffic congestion that has been building for years.
If you drive south on I-65 from Birmingham during the morning rush hour, it is not unusual to see commuters traveling north from Shelby County inching along this particular section of the interstate. The same problem is reversed during the late afternoon return home.
Communities south of I-459 on I-65 have experienced explosive growth over the past 20 years.
Alabaster’s population has grown from 22,619 in 2000 to 33,487 ( est.) in 2019.
Neighboring Calera is one of Alabama’s fastest growing towns, increasing their number of residents from 3,158 in 2000 to 14,717 in 2019.
Hopefully, the added lanes will make life easier. Meanwhile, expect to see work done in the evenings and overnight. Plan accordingly.