Travel in and around Birmingham, Alabama, is going to get difficult starting next month and continue on into 2020.
Starting in mid-to-late January, the Alabama Department of Transportation will be shutting down I-59/20 in the downtown Birmingham area for about 14 months. Plans call for rebuilding the bridges that carry I-59/20.
While through-trucks are not supposed to take I-59/20 through downtown Birmingham, the closure will have an impact on I-459 and I-65, as they will be used as detours to get around the city.
If all goes as planned, the interstate will reopen in March 2020. During the closure, ALDOT asks drivers to avoid downtown Birmingham by taking I-459.
Local trucking companies are concerned about the city’s ability to handle the shutdown, according to a report from AL.com.
“I don’t really think anybody can fully comprehend the magnitude of what it’s going to do,” Edmund Doss, owner of Deep South Freight, told AL.com. “We have seen in the past, when there are bad accidents on the interstate, traffic get routed through Finley Boulevard down to Arkadelphia or over to Carraway. A lot of times people will use this as an alternative and it can create a very big problem in a short amount of time. When it becomes permanent, I don’t have any idea how they’re going to manage the traffic flow.”