BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Closures to prepare for the I-59/20 demolition in downtown Birmingham will begin this weekend the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) announced on Tuesday.
The ramp from Red Mountain Expressway onto the southbound lanes of I-59/20 will be closed Friday night as construction crews begin for next week's shutdown of the interstate. The closure is subject to change due to weather. It begins transition period of three straight weekends of ramp and road closures to create the new traffic pattern downtown.
FIRST WEEKEND / JANUARY 18-21:
Red Mountain Expressway ramp to I-59 SB will close until the new ramp and new bridges are constructed and open to traffic.
Ramp from I-59 SB to Red Mountain Expressway SB will not be available; however, the Central Business District bridges will still be open. The ramp will re-open Monday, January 21st.
JANUARY 21: The evening of January 21st, the shutdown of the Central Business District bridges begins from the interchange at I-65 to the interchange at Red Mountain Expressway.
SECOND WEEKEND / JANUARY 25-28:
FROM 9 p.m., Friday until 6 a.m. Monday: Carraway Boulevard will be closed under the I-59/20 Central Business District bridges between Richard Arrington Jr. Boulevard and 11th Avenue North.
THIRD WEEKEND / FEBRUARY 3-4:
FEBRUARY 3-4: Carraway Boulevard will be closed in the vicinity of the I-59/20 Central Business District bridges for completion of the demolition of the Red Mountain Expressway ramp to I-59/20 SB. Carraway Boulevard will reopen by 6 a.m.. on 2/4/19.
FEBRUARY 4: 25th Street on and off ramps expected to be open to traffic.
On Monday, ALDOT will shut down a one mile stretch of Interstate 59/20 in Birmingham. The current bridges which make up the intestate will be demolished. The demolition part of the project will be completed in the first two months according to ALDOT engineer DeJarvis Leonard.
"The contractor is going to be very aggressive in the demo."
The bridge replacement will take 14 months to complete. ALDOT has urged drivers to use I-459 around Birmingham if possible to alleviate inevitable traffic delays. ALDOT announced they will increase the amount of road crews along I-459. More police patrols will also be present on the interstate
"If everyone uses the detours downtown that's my biggest fear that it would cause major congestion," said Leonard.
Detours through north Birmingham have been setup for local traffic. Finley Boulevard will now serve as the main road spanning across north Birmingham for local traffic.
"We resurfaced it a few years ago so it's in good condition."
ALDOT confirmed it will be working to make sure new traffic patterns are available for popular mobile applications like Google Maps.
"We're working very diligently to make sure that takes place in a timely manner."
The City of Birmingham's Department of Transportation has spent weeks working with ALDOT to make the increased flow of traffic move faster in north Birmingham. The signal division has been working closely with ALDOT to develop signal timing plans for approximately 150 traffic signals on the north side of downtown according to city traffic engineer James Fowler.
ALDOT sought to insure the public the interstate closure would hold to the 14-month schedule. Leonard said a $250,000 per day incentive was written into the contract. ALDOT will pay the contractor the amount for each day ahead of schedule the project is completed. The contractor will owe the state the same amount for each day the project is not finished.
WATCH: ALDOT Explains Plan For I-59/20 Road Closure