Drivers brace for delays as I-20 road work begins Tuesday

Drivers brace for delays as I-20 road work begins Tuesday

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A portion of I-20 East from exit 130 to exit 136 will be closed for repairs for around 90 days starting next week. Source: Alan Collins A portion of I-20 East from exit 130 to exit 136 will be closed for repairs for around 90 days starting next week. Source: Alan Collins
Detour plans for I-20 East. Source: ALDOT Detour plans for I-20 East. Source: ALDOT
Detour plans for I-20 West. Source: ALDOT Detour plans for I-20 West. Source: ALDOT
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

Birmingham area drivers should brace themselves for delays and headaches starting Tuesday morning.

I-20 eastbound will be closed for possibly up to three months while the Alabama Department of Transportation does repair work.

It will start at the I-20 East and I-59 North split. Drivers will be forced to take I-59 North up to I-459 South to get back onto I-20.

"It's got to be rough on everyone because of the traffic flow," business owner Sammy Derzis said.

Sammy Derzis is the co-owner of the Golden Rule Barbeque in Irondale on Highway 78. Derzis at first thought the road work would hurt business.

"Then we thought about it, they would be coming down off the interstate onto Highway 78 to Crestwood Boulevard. A lot of them will come here to eat," Derzis said.

Some of Derzis customers are not worried about the traffic logjams.

"We are in the mining business. It's going to be good for us all of the repair work. Then again I'm on 65 South. So it's not going to affect me anyway," Tom Thompson said.

Further down the road on Highway 78 is B&S Towing and Recovery. While the road work is welcomed, owner Shane St. John is preparing to get his drivers out on the roadway quickly.

"We are going to stage out trucks in different parts of the area. That way if there is an accident we can bring in trucks from different areas to get to the accidents a little quicker to get the road back opened," St. John said.

The work could last up to Thanksgiving. There is a 90 day contract for the eastbound lane and then it will switch over to the westbound lane. The head of ALDOT in Jefferson County said the work is needed.

"It's in a very poor state of condition. Once you get to Oporto Madrid you got concrete paving; that concrete paving is at the end of its surface life. It has to be removed and replaced," Brian Davis with ALDOT said.

Davis said the contractor has been given a penalty and reward clause, $35,000 for each day the work is completed earlier or a penalty for each day it is late.

Davis asked for drivers to be patient for the first couple of days as they work out the new routes and ALDOT makes adjustments.

Read ALDOT's press release on the I-20 repairs below:

JEFFERSON COUNTY – A project to improve Interstate 20 from I-59 in Birmingham to State Route 4 (US 78) in Leeds continues as the Alabama Department of Transportation announces lane closures on I-20 to perform paving operations in Jefferson County.

Beginning Monday, April 8 at midnight, weather permitting Phase II of the project will initially close the eastbound lanes of I-20 from exit 130 to exit 136 and is expected to last approximately 90 days. To avoid lengthy travel delays, motorists are encouraged to use the signed local detours: Exiting I-20 East from I-20/I-59 South, take I-59 North to Exit 137 to I-459 South. Take I-459 south to Exit 29 to I-20 East.

Once the eastbound lanes are completed, the westbound lanes will close and a detour route will be used. A $30,000 per day incentive/disincentive is included in the contract with the bonus to the contractor calculated upon completion.

Plans are to do asphalt patching repairs on both eastbound and westbound lanes of I-20, which will involve having various lane closures from the I-20/ I-459 Interchange to the 1st Leeds Exit (Bass Pro Shop). Following the patching of both the eastbound and westbound lanes, they will be milled for slope correction and paved with asphalt binder, asphalt wearing surface and will then be restriped.

About 74,000 vehicles travel each day past the Birmingham airport and continue on I-20 to the U.S. 78 Exit that carries you to the Leeds Retail Outlet. The concrete and asphalt have worn out due to the heavy volume of traffic and heavy loads by large trucks.

The Alabama Department of Transportation's $38.6 million project will rebuild 9.8 miles of the interstate in both directions.

The expected completion date for the entire project is early Winter 2013.

Motorists are requested to consider adjusting arrival/departure times, observe work zone speed limits and other work zone signs, and use extreme caution in this area. ALDOT thanks motorists for their patience during this construction to improve Alabama's roadways.

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