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The I-59/20 closure: A look at driver options

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Birmingham, Ala. (WIAT) — A major roadway through downtown Birmingham is now closed. The I-59/20 shutdown near the BJCC is forcing thousands of drivers to find another way to get to their destinations. Alabama Department of Transportation regional engineer DeJarvis Leonard says the closure is due to much-needed construction. 

“The existing bridge,” said Leonard. “Is in poor condition.” 

The construction of a new-and-improved interstate bridge will take 14 months to complete. Commuters are now faced with the challenge of navitgating around Central Alabama without a primary roadway. 

 “I think people are very upset,” commuter Liz Rodell said. “They wish it had been planned a little better.”

ALDOT is recommending people utilize I-459 as much as possible. 

“If everyone tries to use the detours through downtown,” said Leonard. “That’s my biggest fear that it will really cause some major congestion.”

ALDOT also advises commuters to be mindful of the construction workers who are working nearby the roadways. Leonard says there could be up to 500 workers out at a time. 

“We’re encouraging motorists to be patient and be mindful of those workers who are out there working. Please don’t drive distracted,” said Leonard. “And we’re encouraging motorists to slow down and keep their eyes on the road.”

WATCH to see Real-Time Traffic anchor Michelle Logan show you the new exit ramps to get around the closure. 

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