Crews push to finish I-59/20 project well ahead of deadline

I-59/20 update

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - ALDOT officials say we could be driving along the newly constructed I-59/20 bridges as soon as next month.

For a little over a year now, you’ve found a different way to work and school as crews broke down and reconstructed I-59/20. During Thursday’s press briefing, officials say construction crews could finish the work by January 21.

“I have been on the bridge and I’ve driven it and it’s magnificent. We are excited. This will change the landscape of Birmingham forever,” said DeJarvis Leonard with ALDOT.

ALDOT says the final to-do list is minimal. They have to grind the surface of the roads to make them smooth and groove the roads to provide better friction between the pavement and your tires. They have to add striping and lighting to some of the conventional access bridges.

If crews get you back on the road by that January 21 deadline, it’ll be an exact year from when work started. Contractors will also receive a $15 million incentive bonus. If work continues until March, the company will have to start paying ALDOT.

ALDOT officials say although crews appear to be moving fast, safety won’t be compromised.

“We inspect the bridge as it is being constructed. Then we do what we call an in-service inspection, which is ongoing as we speak,” said Leonard.

When the big day comes, ALDOT expects to open the main bridges first and then set a time to open the ramps. They plan to meet with construction crews after the Christmas holiday to double check the timeline because they’d like to set a date for a ribbon cutting before the bridge officially opens.

During Thursday’s press briefing, ALDOT officials say they’re still working out the details of that community space that will go under the bridge. It’s called CityWalk. Based on the preliminary design, centered around public feedback, the space could include things like a park, pavilion, and food truck area.

According to ALDOT, the final design for the space may not be ready until the late part of 2020.

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