Residents updated on I-20/59 bridge replacement project - Montgomery Alabama news.

Residents updated on I-20/59 bridge replacement project

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An ALDOT representative speaks with residents. Source: WBRC video An ALDOT representative speaks with residents. Source: WBRC video

"To see this plan. I'm very happy to see these issues have been answered," said Tom Yeilding with Crane Works.

Yielding was pleased to see ALDOT's updated bridge design. He learned that the 31st Street exit would not be closed as part of ALDOT's plan to replace the I-20/59 bridge going through downtown.

"I got together with other businesses in our area and they all had the same concern. They all said that 31st Street is very important to the livelihood of our businesses. So we started coming to these meetings making sure our voice was being heard," Yielding said.

Another change to the design involves 11th Avenue North. Brian Davis with ALDOT says traffic was going to be filtered in that area near the BJCC for drivers to get access into downtown. Officials decided against it.

"We met with civic center authorities and the City of Birmingham. They had concerns that whenever we had events at the civic center we already have traffic problems on 11th Avenue. We went back and looked at it and thought that was a lot of merit. We don't need to do that," said Davis.

There are still a number of modifications to allow traffic to flow in and out of downtown during the bridge construction. Davis realizes everyone won't be pleased with the proposed design. Steve Perrett of Norwood says he doesn't like living close to the noisy interstate.

"My preference would be to move it north, then restore the downtown," said Perrett.

"We don't have an option of moving it or burying it, we've got to get it replaced. We'll be glad to work with anybody in the long term to make the other happen," said Davis.

Davis says moving the bridge would be too expensive, about $1.7-billion. An alternate idea to build an underground tunnel would take almost 30 years to complete, according to Davis, which he says is just too long. The bridge is reaching the end of its life and needs to be out of service by 2016.

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