Is the new I-59/20 bridge better for commuters in Birmingham?

Special Reports

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — For the first time in more than a year, driving on I-59/20 through downtown Birmingham is smooth sailing for many drivers.

“I mean the traffic flow is going to be much better, the lanes seem much wider,” commuter Arthur Matthews said. “I don’t know I guess it still has the brand new smell to it.”

Matthews had just tested out the bridge headed south and west, which opened Friday, as well as the north and east lanes, which opened Sunday. The bridge project opened ahead of schedule.

“I put my GPS in and said ‘Normally, I know I’ve got a detour,’ and I noticed that I went straight and that’s when I realized the new bridge was up and I said ‘This is cool, man,'” he said.

Randy Brown moved to the city exactly one year ago. He’s never known anything but the detour routes and now, he’s making sure he’s got the lay of the land before commuters hit the busy road Tuesday morning.

“It’s going to save a lot of time,” Brown said. “It is less stress on the back roads as well. I think it is going to be a lot easier on the cars, less maintenance on the cars, and just less pounding on the cars on a daily basis.”

Now, some out-of-town routes again go through Birmingham, showing off the city and giving potential visitors an easy exit to the heart of the Magic City.

“When I do go downtown to enjoy the festivities that is coming up for the summer and spring, definitely looking forward to that, especially at Linn Park, Regions Field,” Glentrez Williams said. “I’m definitely looking forward to traveling that way.”

A number of drivers told CBS 42 that their systems are now updated and automatically bringing them through downtown.


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