BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Friday is the third phase of the I-59/20 bridge replacement project. ALDOT will close the Red Mountain Expressway ramp to I-59 going toward Tuscaloosa. It will remain closed until the new ramp and new bridges are constructed and open to traffic.
On Monday, the bridges running through downtown will close for more than a year.
Over the past several weeks, some truck drivers have been pre-planning their routes hoping that will help them get around this shut down a lot easier.
Thursday afternoon, there were hundreds of 18-wheelers traveling on I-20-59 through downtown Birmingham. On Monday, truckers will have to change up their routes because of the complete shutdown of the bridges.
Some are already bracing for major backups.
"It’s going to be a terrible headache for the next year and two months. We’ve got to take all these different kind of routes and traffic is going to be extremely, extremely complicated,” Louis Coachman said.
Some feel the I-459 alternate route and other secondary roads will become parking lots. ALDOT has reached out to trucking companies to let them know about the shutdown.
Roderic Rhodes has been a truck driver for over 20 years. He’s not too worried because he’s already planned out his route. That’s what ALDOT says everyone needs to do.
"It’s not going to be tough. You just have to take time to pre-plan your routes and just go from there. Just takes a lot of pre-planning instead of just going from where you normally go,” Rhodes said.
ALDOT and the city will be closely monitoring the alternate routes. They’ll make adjustments to them if need be.
"Some intersections were are expecting increased volume we might add an additional turn lane or change how the lanes approach those intersections,” said James Fowler, Director of the Birmingham Department of Transportation.
Some trucking companies are telling their drivers to leave an hour or two earlier than normal just so they can make it to their destinations on time.
We also reached out to UPS and FedEx to see what kind of impact the bridge shutdown might have on your online orders. We’ll let you know when we hear back.