New I-59/20 bridge opening Friday night in Birmingham

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The year-long construction project on I-59/20 through Birmingham is near completion.

A dedication ceremony was held Friday and was an invite-only event with Governor Kay Ivey in attendance. The I-59 southbound and I-20 westbound lanes will open at 9 p.m. Friday. The I-59 northbound and I-20 eastbound bridges will be open to traffic at 8 p.m. Sunday.

Birmingham City Councilman Darrell O’Quinn was also in attendance attend. He serves as the chairman of the transportation committee and said he hopes the bridge to re-opening will alleviate congestion in the city center and reduce collateral damage to city streets.

WATCH THE DEDICATION CEREMONY FOR THE BRIDGE HERE

According to O’Quinn, construction trucks that have been using city streets have unintentionally caused the damage. As an example, he said when the large trucks need to make a turn, they have to turn into an oncoming traffic lane and that is when the damage has occurred.

“Often the trailers are going up on the curb and hitting utility boxes or the utility poles — taking out street signage and that sort of thing,” O’Quinn said.

He also said that once the detours are no longer necessary for drivers, he expects less traffic in the city center.

“I expect that a lot of the traffic that we’ve seen on [I]-459 will come back to [I] 20/59,” O’Quinn said. “That’s been a major detour route.”

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