ALDOT meets with Birmingham leaders about I-20/59 bridge replace - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

ALDOT meets with Birmingham leaders about I-20/59 bridge replacement

Source: WBRC video Source: WBRC video

Birmingham city councilors met with ALDOT officials on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the major I-20/59 bridge replacement project.

Officials say the bridges average one accident every two days. Twice in the past year, chunks of concrete have fallen from the bridges to the ground below, leaving holes in the road that damaged several cars.

The bridges are around 42 years old and an estimated 160,000 vehicles drive across them each day, making it the busiest stretch of road in Alabama. When they were built in 1971, the bridge was meant to last 30 years and support 80,000 cars a day.

According to ALDOT, the new bridges will be higher and will add an extra lane with full shoulders for disabled vehicles.

ALDOT said today that 28th Street will remain open and 31st Street will keep an on-ramp. ALDOT officials emphasized the need to keep traffic clear around the BJCC.

ALDOT says they are trying to keep drivers from weaving in and out of traffic, so 18th Street will have ramps directly to I-65 North and South and I-20/59 East and West. There will also be ramps for Red Mountain Parkway at I-20/59.

The bridge replacement plan will cost around $362 million. ALDOT expects to close the bridges in mid-2016 and keep them closed for about 16 to 18 months.

ALDOT admitted they "didn't do the best job [they] could" in responding to requests for alternatives, and says they hired an outside firm to examine other options. But they ultimately concluded that options such as moving the bridges to the Finley Blvd. corridor or sinking the road would take too much time and money.

For more updates on the meeting, follow @FOX6Hardison on Twitter and watch FOX6 News at 6.

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