Hole opens up on I-20/59, drivers are fearful - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Drivers fearful after latest large hole on I-20/59

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Another hole opened-up on a bridge along Interstate 20/59. It's the third one, in less than a year. Repairs will begin Friday night at 8am and likely go until early Monday morning, which will result in two lanes of traffic being closed for that time.

But this is just a temporary fix. ALDOT's division engineer Brian Davis and concerned people who are afraid we're on the brink of having a major safety issue.

Birmingham resident, Christian Simmons, says he parks under the I-20/59 bridges often. Many times he brings along his young wife and new baby. Hearing that holes are opening up concerns him.

"I have new born right now and I definitely worry about him because I have to bring him along with me like today I had to leave him un the car while I went into the courthouse and you know something like that kind of scares me," said Simmons.

Simmons is certainly not alone. Several dozen people park and walk underneath I-20/59 daily.

"A chunk of cement might fall on top of the car while I'm in here and hurt me. Yeah that is a concern, a major concern," said Birmingham resident, Marcus Patrick.

Alabama Department of Transportation's Brian Davis says the interstate sees traffic of 160,000 cars per day. That's twice the load the bridge was originally designed for.

"The concrete is shaking all day long. So this hole formed not by somebody dropping a steel coil on it, not by a car having wreck and flipping over on it. This formed on its own, which begins to illustrate to us why we've been saying for a long time that bridge has got to come out of service by 2015,"said Davis.

Davis says ALDOT has plan to ensure that happens. On Tuesday, AlDOT will hold a public hearing, at which point it will discuss its plans for permanent bridge repair.     

"You build those new ramps first. Provide that access into downtown so that you can take out the old ramps and take down that bridge. Begin to start constructing you bridge down under the present bridge," said Davis.

People who travel this area say the time to act to act is now.

"It's having more and more of these happen. And it won't be long before we will be looking at it and having to rule it unsafe," said Davis.

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