This isn't a roadtrip report per-se, but instead is a report on a public meeting about whether to widen I-20/59 between Birmingham and Tuscaloosa, from December 14, 2000.

I-20/59 Widening hearing in Birmingham

Went to a "Public Involvement Meeting" hosted by Birmingham's MPO on a proposed widening project on I-20/59. The main reason behind the meeting was to get public input on whether the project should be added to the MPO's TIP, and the 20-year Transportation Plan.

As proposed (and assuming approval), the project would widen I-20/59 to 6 lanes (3 each direction) between Valley Road in western Birmingham (where the current 6-lane section ends) and Exit 100 near the Tuscaloosa/Jefferson County line, about 18 miles. Two main impetuses behind the widening are mushrooming traffic volumes (some sections are increasing at 4% per year), and safety. From 1997 through 1999, there were 959 accidents in the corridor (averaging almost 1 a day). 250 of those accidents involved injuries, and there were 17 fatal accidents in those 3 years. Also, the section has no median barrier. Estimated cost of widening all 18 miles is about $65 million, and would begin (if all goes well) in 2002.

This widening is part of a larger project that would widen I-20/59 to 6 lanes all the way down to Exit 62/Fosters (just SW of Tuscaloosa). The meeting dealt with the Birmingham MPO's section, which ends at Exit 100. The rest would fall under ALDOT and Tuscaloosa MPO.

Also, talking with one of the ALDOT employees at the meeting, I found that ALDOT is proposing widening I-20/59 to 6 lanes the full length between Birmingham and Montgomery. I also found out that the "Northern Beltline" plan has recently been extended south from I-59 to I-20 near Leeds (got that Andy?), and the feasibility study for extending Corridor X to I-20/59 isn't so much to determine if it should be put it, but if it CAN be put in. The area the extension would go through has a lot of potential soil contamination.

One more note (for Alex and company), another ALDOT employee was asking where my webpage was, since I'd mentioned it a couple times. First she asked if it was, but when I pointed out mine, she said she'd seen that one as well. End result: there's at least one ALDOT employee that checks both my page and on a regular basis...:o)

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