ALDOT plans to demolish expressway and rebuild new, wider bridge
Work has already begun on a three phase project that will ultimately replace the Interstate 20/59 bridge that runs through the heart of downtown Birmingham. A countless number of people including city officials oppose the state’s plans.
“That highway was built in the 70’s by the Bull Conner type people in this town to exclude blacks and cut them off from the rest of the prosperous part of Birmingham,” Bart Slawson said.
Attorney Slawson represents Birmingham’s non-profit Move I-20/59.
Over the years, he said that expressway blocked economic development in neighborhoods in the northern part of the Magic City like Fountain Heights, Druid Hills and College Park.
“It’s just gone to hell basically. The black business district in Norwood is gone. All the nice houses are tore up,” Slawson.
The bridge is crumbling and paint is wearing off steel beams. Now, the Alabama Department of Transportation plans to spend millions of dollars to demolish that overpass and build a new, wider bridge.
“It’s actually going to 18 feet from the Sheraton Hotel. It’s going to eliminate some exits,” Darrell O’Quinn, Move I-20-59’s executive director said.
The Citizens Advisory Board which represents Birmingham’s 99 neighborhoods, filed an important resolution asking ALDOT to halt the project. The board wants ALDOT to make repairs to the current bridge and give the city time to come up with an alternate plan they say will serve in the best interest of the people.
Slawson told WVTM 13 ALDOT isn’t listening. Slawson filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Move I-20/59. He said ALDOT has to respond to that suit by December 19th.
originally seen on: http://www.wvtm13.com