I-20/59 detour hurting businesses

Traffic comes to a standstill on the Bessemer Superhighway. Source: WBRC video
Traffic comes to a standstill on the Bessemer Superhighway. Source: WBRC video

BESSEMER, AL (WBRC) - The Alabama Department of Transportation is doing road work on interstates 20/59 in Bessemer. Because of this, all northbound traffic is being rerouted onto the Bessemer Super Highway at Academy Drive.

Some business owners in that area say the detour is hurting their bottom line.

"The detour has been a detriment," said Van Sykes, owner of Bob Sykes BBQ. "You know yourself when you're on a detour you don't want to get off until you get to the other side of that detour because 80 percent of those people out here have no clue where they're at they're just following a detour."

Sykes isn't alone. The Sunoco gas station next door is seeing a drop in customers and the assistant manager blames the detour. "Nobody wants to stop nowhere. They just want to hit the expressway as quick they can," said Mahira Shaban, "It's too slow nowadays in the morning. It's like dead. In an hour you hardly get 4 customers."

Some drivers are just as fed up.

"It's aggravating, bad aggravating," said Irwin Guillot, "Can't get nowhere around here. We got off the exit the other day and it took us an hour and a half to go 2 miles."

For Irwin Guillot to say the traffic is bad, well, that carries a lot of clout.

"I drive a truck for a living and I deal with this every day, but this here is just total chaos," said Guillot.

The traffic isn't going to get better anytime soon. ALDOT says around the middle of May the southbound lanes of I 20/59 will be closed and traffic will once again be routed to the Bessemer Super Highway.

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