Exit ramp closure on tap this week, drivers prepare for backups

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) —  An exit ramp closure is expected to cause traffic delays for people who live and work in downtown Birmingham.

Wednesday, the Alabama Department of Transportation will close the 17th Street exit ramp from I-20/59.

Crews will build a new ramp to prepare for replacing I-20/59 bridges.

For folks who frequent the area, the closure will bring some headaches. Brenda Hare goes to see her stepmother several times a week at an apartment just off the exit ramp that will soon be closed.

“The 17 exit is really convenient, you know because like I said, it’s right here at her house, when you exit off you just make one turn and you’re right here,” said Brenda Hare

One possible detour is the 22nd Street exit. The area is already congested.

“Everybody is going to be redirected just like me, so it’s just going to be a big mess,” said Hare

To keep traffic flowing, transportation leaders will turn off traffic signals at the on and off ramp at 22nd Street.

More drivers are likely to use Rev. Abraham Woods Boulevard. Folks who work in the area can already envision the rush hour backups.

“It’s going to be hard to get off downtown and be on time for work when I come that way,” said Ciara Donald.

ALDOT expects the exit ramp will be closed for at least a year.

For a look at alternative routes, click here.

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