Rethink 20/59 calls for changes to ALDOT project

Rethink 20/59 calls for changes to ALDOT project

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The I-20/59 overpass cuts right through downtown. Source: Vanessa Araiza The I-20/59 overpass cuts right through downtown. Source: Vanessa Araiza
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

An advocacy group called Rethink 20/59 trying to put the brakes on the state's plan for rebuilding bridges in the area.

"We want it to be a parkway boulevard if you will with the interstate either being sunken below the site or potentially re-routed to the north," said Joseph Baker, lead organizer of Rethink 20/59.

Baker said the groups goal is to switch up the current proposal for changes ALDOT has laid out for the busy interstate.

"The bridge is going to be higher and wider. They're going to be expanding lanes, be eliminating 9th Avenue downtown. Eliminating the parking underneath the interstate. Dumping all the traffic onto 11th Avenue North," said Baker.

Tony Harris with ALDOT said the project is in the developmental stage right now.

People who would like to see a change are taking full advantage of that. They've started an online petition on Change.org and they're trying to get their voice heard.

"I would like to see them tear [the I-20/59 bridge] down and relocate somewhere else," UAB Urban Development Expert, Dr. Ray Mohl, said.

The UAB professor is not a fan of the current plan proposed.

"These big wide elevated roads right in the middle of the a city, tearing it apart. Destroying neighborhoods on both ends. Dividing the city from one part to another," he said.

One suggestion is an underground interstate. As much as Mohl would like to see that he says it's very expensive to complete such a project.

"I don't think they could do it here. There's no money for it."

Harris said all suggestions and feedback is welcomed and finalization of the project is expected later this year.

If you would like more information on the group or if you would like to sign the petition, please visit www.rethink2059.com.

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