Renewed push to widen Interstate 65 statewide

Published: May. 24, 2023 at 10:23 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - There’s a renewed push to make your commute along Interstate 65 a lot smoother. It’s getting attention from state leaders.

In the spring and summer, traffic on I-65 can be a nightmare. Drivers say its past time to add more lanes. “I think it’s needed especially south of Birmingham because four o c’clock, six o’clock, you’re waiting,” Dakota Allen, a driver said.

Last week, lawmakers passed a resolution calling on the Alabama Department of Transportation to study and prioritize the widening of I-65 from the Tennessee line to the Gulf Coast.

“This is such an artery throughout the state of Alabama, we need to make sure that we keep that artery clean and as efficient for travelers as possible and let it help all of our communities and towns as people travel through every day,” State Senator Garlan Gudger, R-Cullman said.

Gudger and other lawmakers are working with Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth urging ALDOT to take action. Ainsworth recently tweeted that 65 needs to be six lanes throughout the state. He says gridlock hurts economic development, frustrates travelers, and raises questions about how tax dollars are being spent.

The website “gowide65″ is also calling for change.

“If we don’t start planning for the future then we’re never going to be able to be where we need to be in 15 years from now,” Gudger said.

A few years ago, ALDOT widened over 3 miles of 65 from Pelham to Alabaster. There’s now a proposed plan to expand the interstate to six lanes along a 7 mile stretch from Alabaster to Calera. The entire project costing about $200 million in federal, state, and local funding. Alabaster city leaders recently agreed to pay over $1.7 million for their portion of the expansion project.

We reached out to ALDOT for a response to the push to expand 65 statewide. A spokesperson told us to contact them Thursday for reaction. We’ll update the story once we hear back.

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