MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - If you've driven down Interstate 65 you've noticed the signs, heard the drilling and probally sat in the traffic. The wait could soon be over, however. On Wednesday The Alabama Department of Transportation announced some unexpected news.
It says its contractor on the project to add lanes and rebuild existing lanes of Interestate 65 will complete the southbound phase well ahead of schedule. Southbound ramps at South Boulevard, Edgemont Avenue and Fairview Avenue are set to re-open at 9:00 Friday morning, in under half the amount of time expected.
"This is perhaps the largest interstate expansion and rebuilding project ever undertaken in Alabama," said Transportation Director Joe McInnes.
ALDOT started work on rebuilding the southbound lanes and interchange ramps on July 25 and expected the project to take 33 days. Now, the project is expected to wrap in just 15 days.
"Our interstate system is aging, and projects like Progress65 are essential to rebuild existing lanes and ramps, and to add lanes that relieve congestion," McInnes explained, "Other states have closed urban interstates and ramps for months at a time, so we're not alone in facing these issues."
On Thursday night, construction workers are expected to begin removing temporary barriers and adding painted stripes to the roadway. ALDOT officials say commuters should expect just one lane of traffic that night starting at 7:00 and should also adhear to the posted 45mph speed limit that will remain in effect.
The construction is all about of the multi-million dollar renovation and expansion project of the interestate system called "Progress 65". The price tag for the project is well over $100 million.
The next phase of the Progress65 project includes finishing the median.