I-59/20 Bridge Opening

By: Charles Cochran, P.E., PTOE, RSP

We have written previously about our work associated with the I-59/20 bridge replacement project in downtown Birmingham.  If you live or work in the area, you already know that the interstate bridges are back open!  Jeff Stephenson and I had the opportunity to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, January 17, and on the following Sunday, the bridges were fully opened to the public.

While the bridge construction crews can breathe a sigh of relief, our work is just starting back up.  Over the last year, we have retimed the traffic signals at about 160 intersections in the downtown area.  Those timing plans were designed to help move the detoured interstate traffic through Birmingham’s surface streets.  Now, we are working on implementing and fine-tuning signal timings for the new, permanent traffic conditions.  It is an iterative process which will take about two months – we develop the signal timings in the office, install them in the signal controllers, observe traffic throughout the day, adjust the timings accordingly, and then respond to public complaints (hopefully there won’t be too many!).

As a Birmingham resident, I have really enjoyed working on a project that affects so many of my coworkers, friends, and neighbors.  We are looking forward to making your drive around Birmingham’s city streets more efficient!      

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