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kayman

Greater Birmingham Roads and Freeways

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I've lived in Central Alabama all my life, but I lived in Birmingham when I was a child and now currently. I can't figure out why for the life of me that ALDOT hasn't tried to improve the conditions of the current interstates like I-20/59 west of downtown and I-65. I drive on I-65 from Southside to thee Over the Mountain areas for shopping and entertainment, and I get so sick and tired of the shake and jerking of the rough conditions of I-65. Also I have family that lives on the western side of the metro and when I go out there I have to contend with the conditions of 20/59. What gets me is that ALDOT and local offiicals are so busy trying to get more roads built like I-22 and the the Northern Beltway, but don't want to fix what is already have built.

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Actually... they're going to resurface much of I-65 from around Lakeshore up to the 41st Street Exit from what I've heard. It's a temporary fix, but it'll help things out a good bit in the short term. AL DOT has been asked why they dont come up with a more permanent solution, and they've said that they could fix it, but that the money just isnt there. With I-22, the Northern Beltline, the proposed I-85 extension, and just regular highway maintenance, I can understand why. Just isnt enough money to go around at the moment. Man, we need Alabama's population to start growing. I dont think we should raise taxes... we just needed a bigger tax base. Oh well... that's for another issue, but as far as I-65, I think you'll see some temporary relief in the near future.

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Actually... they're going to resurface much of I-65 from around Lakeshore up to the 41st Street Exit from what I've heard. It's a temporary fix, but it'll help things out a good bit in the short term. AL DOT has been asked why they dont come up with a more permanent solution, and they've said that they could fix it, but that the money just isnt there. With I-22, the Northern Beltline, the proposed I-85 extension, and just regular highway maintenance, I can understand why. Just isnt enough money to go around at the moment. Man, we need Alabama's population to start growing. I dont think we should raise taxes... we just needed a bigger tax base. Oh well... that's for another issue, but as far as I-65, I think you'll see some temporary relief in the near future.

Actually, ALDOT has more money than they pretend to not have. I'm friends with state senator Del Marsh and he confirmed to me that ALDOT has more money stashed back than any other agency in the state from gas taxes. Corruption, is the word that describes what has been going on not a larger tax base. I believe the bureaucracy in Montgomery is one of thoses things that needs to stop so that this area can get permanent solutions for the roads. At least it an election year, and it offers some hope.

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I've lived in Central Alabama all my life, but I lived in Birmingham when I was a child and now currently. I can't figure out why for the life of me that ALDOT hasn't tried to improve the conditions of the current interstates like I-20/59 west of downtown and I-65. I drive on I-65 from Southside to thee Over the Mountain areas for shopping and entertainment, and I get so sick and tired of the shake and jerking of the rough conditions of I-65. Also I have family that lives on the western side of the metro and when I go out there I have to contend with the conditions of 20/59. What gets me is that ALDOT and local offiicals are so busy trying to get more roads built like I-22 and the the Northern Beltway, but don't want to fix what is already have built.

Good news for commuters using I-65. Instead of widening the interstate to six lanes from Pelham to Alabaster, DOT will be widening it to 8 lanes all the way from Gardendale (north of bhm) to the shelby county airport---38 miles---(and possibly to calera later on)!!! Terrific news for Birmingham and Shelby county. Being one of the fastest growing counties in the country, this is desperately needed. The widening starting at Pelham will begin this summer, with the widening from 20/59 North to Gardendale being constructed at the same time the I-22 interchage connects to the current Interstate system near downtown. ALDOT has also said that the widening of 65 from 20/59 to 459 (Bhm to Hoover) will depend on the amount of $. Of course we all know ALDOT has the $ for this, so there shouldn't be any type of holdup with this section either. Also, all bridges along this 38 mile stretch will be widened as well. Some of the lanes will also be designated as HOV lanes.

Here is the link from the Birmingham News, contains more info on funding, studies, timetable, etc...

http://www.al.com/news/birminghamnews/inde...2930.xml&coll=2

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Good news for commuters using I-65. Instead of widening the interstate to six lanes from Pelham to Alabaster, DOT will be widening it to 8 lanes all the way from Gardendale (north of bhm) to the shelby county airport---38 miles---(and possibly to calera later on)!!! Terrific news for Birmingham and Shelby county. Being one of the fastest growing counties in the country, this is desperately needed. The widening starting at Pelham will begin this summer, with the widening from 20/59 North to Gardendale being constructed at the same time the I-22 interchage connects to the current Interstate system near downtown. ALDOT has also said that the widening of 65 from 20/59 to 459 (Bhm to Hoover) will depend on the amount of $. Of course we all know ALDOT has the $ for this, so there shouldn't be any type of holdup with this section either. Also, all bridges along this 38 mile stretch will be widened as well. Some of the lanes will also be designated as HOV lanes.

Here is the link from the Birmingham News, contains more info on funding, studies, timetable, etc...

http://www.al.com/news/birminghamnews/inde...2930.xml&coll=2

Just heard about this as well. VERY good news for the metro. The best news is that they plan to start it this summer. No word on how long it will take, but if they do truly begin this summer, that is TERRIFIC news.

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Some of the lanes will also be designated as HOV lanes.

From Gardendale to AL 119 I-65 is already six lanes, so if it will all be eight lanes, the only widening north of AL 119 will be for HOV lanes.

A separate project has already been proposed to widen I-65 to eight lanes from I-20/59 to Walker Chapel Road in anticipation of the I-22 interchange, so I wonder if there will be any HOV lanes constructed along with the eight general purpose lanes for a total of ten lanes along that stretch?

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-From Malfunction Junction northward towards Gardendale, the last several days I've seen DOT surveyors out in the medians doing what looks to be a measurement for adding those inner lanes (probably HOV lanes).

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-From Malfunction Junction northward towards Gardendale, the last several days I've seen DOT surveyors out in the medians doing what looks to be a measurement for adding those inner lanes (probably HOV lanes).

For some parts of that project the lanes won't fit on the inside becaue a concrete barrier is already in place. The fact that surveyors are getting the area mapped out is an encouraging sign.

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For some parts of that project the lanes won't fit on the inside becaue a concrete barrier is already in place. The fact that surveyors are getting the area mapped out is an encouraging sign.

Yeah... when it gets as far south as the concrete barrier is where it stops, but from I-65/US-31 in Fultondale on northward to Gardendale... it's all mapped out with orange stakes in the median (at least on the southbound side... not sure about northbound).

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-From Malfunction Junction northward towards Gardendale, the last several days I've seen DOT surveyors out in the medians doing what looks to be a measurement for adding those inner lanes (probably HOV lanes).

They need to be trying to rebuilt Malfunction Junction as a mult-level interchange with flyovers rather than adding HOV lanes through it. That interchange is one of the biggest diasasters waiting to happen. After the reconstruction of the junction with a new layout then they should add HOV lanes. ALDOT has to be the dumbest and most wasteful DOT in the nation.

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They need to be trying to rebuilt Malfunction Junction as a mult-level interchange with flyovers rather than adding HOV lanes through it.

There are no plans to completely overhaul Malfunction Junction, and to be honest the layout of the interchange, as unusual as it is, causes drivers to be more alert when using the interchange, which means that the interchange is not as as bad as it seems. Capacity can be added to the interchange easily by just adding additional lanes.

I will agree that if/when HOV lanes are added, something will need to be done to tie those lanes into the interchange as simply as possible. Perhaps the HOV lanes will fly over the entire interchange with separate exits to/from I-20/59.

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Looks like Birmingham is now conducting a study in which they are considering adding 45 miles of toll roads from roughly Gardendale to Calera. This would be in addition to the already-approved proposal to 8-lane I-65 from north of Gardendale to north Shelby Co.

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There are no plans to completely overhaul Malfunction Junction, and to be honest the layout of the interchange, as unusual as it is, causes drivers to be more alert when using the interchange, which means that the interchange is not as as bad as it seems. Capacity can be added to the interchange easily by just adding additional lanes.

I will agree that if/when HOV lanes are added, something will need to be done to tie those lanes into the interchange as simply as possible. Perhaps the HOV lanes will fly over the entire interchange with separate exits to/from I-20/59.

There numerous problems with Malfunction Junction #1 is the lane crossovers of the opposite direction roadways. #2 The 2 bridges that were destroyed shouldn't have even occured if the interchange was built correctly. #3 There are no flyovers located in the interchange, so the bridges have such a low clearance for a major interchange that makes them prone to destruction from such fires that occured. In Charlotte there is a similar problem with the I-40/I-77 interchange as well. The problem needs to be eleviated before they even consider adding anymore lanes. It just like that with US 280 as well, the ALDOT believes that MORE LANES instead of a long term solution is problem solver when it's not.

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I'm glad that they two-laned the 280 exit from 459E/N.. it is needed. I wish they'd work on the whole merge/split, though...

The only other widening I wish they'd do is 65N to 459... and the reverse, from 459 to 65S. And 119 to 65S should be three lanes from 119 to Pelham, then from Pelham to Alabaster. Make that third lane exit only at the exits, thus no widening needed at the overpasses.

My mom drove I-20/59 last week, and had no clue she drove through Malfunction Junction until she saw the 280/31 exit signs. The problem isn't the straight-throughs, it's the ramps.

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Upon doing some reasearch re: transit alternatives, I came across a map I had looked at before...

the Transit System Plan, Long Range Transportation Plan Projects for the city of Birmingham. It's the BRT's Alternative Analysis map. Mainly includes HOV lanes from Calera (at SR25 exit) to the Northern Beltline intersection, north of Gardendale. That's the extent of the proposed HOV, the existing plan is from Alabaster north to somewhere above Vestavia Hills exit (the HOV is covered by other stuff, so it's hard to see where it ends).

Bus Rapid Transit for 280 from 119 to downtown. "Enhanced bus alignment" within the beltway, and express bu from Shelby County Airport north to DT, and then spokes out to the extent of the Beltway (all directions).

Though I'm sure ya'll've seen it. :)

I also found the 280 plan... The biggest help would be an 'urban interchange' at 119 (which from what I can tell, is what they found, and are moving ahead with). If you've driven Huntsville, specifically 231, it is full of "urban interchanges" as well as if you've driven anywhere in Texas. Other place that an UI would help (the 6lane version, not the 4 lane..) are: Hugh Daniel Drive, Brook Highland, and Meadow Brook. The 4 lane would work best at Rocky Ridge; however, that intersection has gone forward with the staggard entrances, which helps out both Rocky Ridge and Green Valley.

Four intersections look to be best as is: Office Park, Cherokee Road, Overton Road, and Cahaba River Road. The other intersections not listed here look to be better with 'at-grade' improvements.

Of course, this is just what I noticed from their reports, not what they concluded... (haven't read that far just yet).

heh.

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I also found the 280 plan... The biggest help would be an 'urban interchange' at 119 (which from what I can tell, is what they found, and are moving ahead with). If you've driven Huntsville, specifically 231, it is full of "urban interchanges" as well as if you've driven anywhere in Texas. Other place that an UI would help (the 6lane version, not the 4 lane..) are: Hugh Daniel Drive, Brook Highland, and Meadow Brook. The 4 lane would work best at Rocky Ridge; however, that intersection has gone forward with the staggard entrances, which helps out both Rocky Ridge and Green Valley.

The service road/slip ramp system that is use along Memorial Pkwy/US 231 works wonders for that road. It maintains access to the businesses along the road while allowing motorists to go over all of the busy intersections. I think it would work great for US 280 as well through northern Shelby County. The service roads and u-turns would help with the shopping centers, while the main roads would get overpasses and slip ramps.

Unfortunately, the leaders of the region lack the foresight to realize that only adding lanes will only be a short-term solution to the traffic problem.

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There are no plans to completely overhaul Malfunction Junction, and to be honest the layout of the interchange, as unusual as it is, causes drivers to be more alert when using the interchange, which means that the interchange is not as as bad as it seems. Capacity can be added to the interchange easily by just adding additional lanes.

I will agree that if/when HOV lanes are added, something will need to be done to tie those lanes into the interchange as simply as possible. Perhaps the HOV lanes will fly over the entire interchange with separate exits to/from I-20/59.

If it is done like any other interstate system with HOV lanes; the HOV lanes will end about a mile before Malfunction Junction, and the HOV lanes will become regular lanes. Also, the HOV lanes will probably only be for vehicles with two passengers or more from 7:00-9:00 in bound and 4:00-6:00 out bound; outside of those times it will probably be a regular used lane. You are right additional lane are need on the flyovers on Malfunction Junction, but if they did fix Malfunction Junction then what would you guys call the intersection. I live in Tennessee and I've heard of Malfunction Junction in Birmingham, you fix Malfunction Junction and I-59/20 and I-65 interchange will lose its fame.

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US 280 Toll Road Study

Initial studying is about to begin on possibly of the construction of an elevated toll road above US 280. This road would stretch from Red Mountain Expressway to Eagle Point Drive.

IMO, this not the solution. It is far from it. That is the dumbest thing in the world to build such a large structure in the middle of the suburbs. The citizens of Vestavia Hill, Mountain Brook, and Cahaba Heights should have allowed the ALDOT to converted US 280 into a limited-access roadway back in the 1980s, and it wouldn't have been a problem. -_- That's what they need to do but this time add access roads along the roadway to allow access to the businesses similar to US 231/Memorial Pkwy in Huntsville. Also, when the public transit service is improved, there should a BRT or express bus service offered along the route.

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The Progress 280 (PDF) study calls for service roads and "urban interchanges" between I-459 and Hugh Daniel Drive. West of I-459, it was determined that intersections should be relocated. This study also takes into consideration BRT.

I am not sure how this would compare to a service road/urban interchange system for US 280. How would you get onto the elevated road if you did not happen to be where it began or ended? The Florida project seems to only shuttle commuters from Tampa to the eastern suburb of Brandon, non-stop. That solution is impractical for US 280.

I should also mention that during the construction of the elevated road in Florida that this same engineering group designed, some of the piers that would hold up the elevated tollway collapsed into the ground, delaying the project.

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Alternate Truck Routes Laws are finally being enforced since the recent rash of truck cargo spills

Trucks Will Be Moved to I-459

It's about time since Birmingham seems to be the only major city in the South that hasn't enforced this rule. There has been nearly 11 different truck cargo spills that involves steel that has punched a hole in the I-20/59 Downtown stretch. However, the City of Birmingham is claiming that they may have trouble enforcing the law because the FAA deregulated truck travel and has no authority to enforce it. However, I believe the officials in Birmingham have any sense and want to prevent any liable lawsuits involving somebody being seriously injured or killed by another truck spill.

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Those that have to use I-65 north are still going to have to pass through the city. But the good news is that that interstate is not elevated nor does it have as many sharp turns on it that would cause trucks to lose control.

There has been inspections during the past few days to enforce load restriction laws. Supposedly that has been a success, but we all know that those inspections will probably go away too soon.

I think that steel coil trucks should be considered hazardous cargo (HC), and as such I-20/59 between either end of I-459 should be designated a non-HC route. This way prominent HC signs can be posted for I-459 for traffic traveling on I-20/59. ALDOT plans on using the message boards (gasp!) to alert truckers to use I-459 to bypass the city.

Still, the signs will mean jack crap unless the rules are enforced.

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IIRC, there are signs on 20W/59S that state ALL trucks MUST use I459 unless going to I65N.

Those signs have been up at least since the beginning of the year... and I'm not too certain before that.

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IIRC, there are signs on 20W/59S that state ALL trucks MUST use I459 unless going to I65N.

Those signs have been up at least since the beginning of the year... and I'm not too certain before that.

Yeah, those signs have been there for (I'm willing to say) about five years. However, those are the only signs you will see mentioning that as you approach Birmingham from the southwest. Also, I don't believe there are any signs on I-20 westbound east of Birmingham.

Personally, I think that trucks should use I-459 regardless of whether or not they are going to I-65 north. The route itself isn't that much of a deviation from the parent route, and it is much safer for trucks than the parent route. As I mentioned above, I-459 should be designated a Hazardous Cargo route and I-20 and I-59 between Bessemer and Trussville and Leeds, respectively, should be designated a non-HC route.

The inforcement continues, as I saw trucks pulled over on the 41st Avenue exit off of I-65 on Tuesday for inspection.

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It's happened once again: :angry:

Overturned truck loses steel rolls

I am getting so sick and tired out our state government's incompetence. There needs to be a mass firing of imcompetent morons in Montogomery.

At least this time it wasn't on a bridge where the coils could puncture through the entire roaddeck. Still, it shows that something more drastic needs to be done. Just imagine if this were to happen on either side of Birmingham on both I-20/59 and I-65 in four separate incidents on the same day.

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