Drivers adjusting to new closures as I-59/20 project reaches five-month mark

Local News

Friday marks five months since construction crews began work on replacing the I-59/20 bridge, and ALDOT leaders estimate project is about 60 to 70-percent complete. They say the contractor is on pace to complete the job by the March 2020 deadline.

In the meantime, though, drivers will still have to deal with closures. The most recent, on 18th St. N, is creating some confusion.

“The attitudes vary from time to time as traffic gets a little bit more tighter,” Albert Carter, who works near the closure, said. “A lot of people are honking the horns, a few hand gestures.”

Carter is a security guard at a parking garage across from where the roughly two-block closure begins at the intersection of 18th and Rev. Abraham Woods Jr. Blvd. So he gets an up-close view of the construction each day, and he says it’s already starting to get better.

“I’ve seen a big change since Monday, as a matter of fact,” he said. “They’re getting a little bit more lenient, I guess, and a little bit more tolerant of one another. And they’re getting a little bit used to it. So we hope and we pray that it gets better and it doesn’t last too much longer.”

According to ALDOT, the closure will last two to three months. So drivers will have to deal with it at least that long. It’s the latest closure during the construction process, and it won’t be the last. But ALDOT leaders say drivers will always have certain alternatives.

“We have a commitment that is contractual that the contractor will keep one north-and-southbound route between 15th and 18th open, between 19th and 23rd, and between 23rd up to 26th,” ALDOT 4th division engineer Dejarvis Leonard said. “So there will always be one north-and-southbound route.”

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