Review of what happened to close 59/20 ongoing

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Traffic is again flowing downtown through the junction of I-65 and 59/20. The southbound lane was closed last week after temporary supports failed to hold a steel girder which was placed as a part of the massive bridge replacement project.

Reopening the roadway has been ALDOT and Granite Construction's top focus - not what caused the problem. "It was a temporary support. It is not a part of the permanent structure, so it is not our focus at this point in time," said ALDOT Regional Engineer DeJarvis Leonard.

Leonard said a review of what happened will be taking place now that the interstate is back open.

Jefferson County Manager Tony Petelos, an engineer and someone who has worked with ALDOT, believes the highway department has corrected the problem. "I think ALDOT made the right decision in closing that lane of traffic during the process of stabilizing the beam," Petelos said.

Around 260,000 vehicles drive through the junction each day. Petelos said once the project is finished, it will be easier for commuters. "It has created some problems and will create some in the future, but eventually, 'Malfunction Junction' is going away," Petelos said.

ALDOT remains committed to driver safety. "Our goal is always to make sure motorists are safe and the traveling public is never in danger," Leonard said.

Leonard continues to say he has full faith in their inspection procedures and in Granite Construction.

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