Expect Delays on I-20/59 near Birmingham, Ala.

April 10, 2012

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Month-long work started Monday on all lanes of I-20/59 North in Bessemer, Ala., diverting nearly 50,000 vehicles that travel those lanes daily, reports The Birmingham News.

The Alabama Department of Transportation is working to replace a stretch of northbound Interstate 20/59. To do that, about 2 miles of the highway are closed to traffic for about 30 days. Once the northbound side is done, the southbound side will be shut down. Travellers are urged to use I-459, or the posted detours through Bessemer.

The cause for construction is the 8-inch concrete slabs reinforced with steel beams that were used to pave the interstate years ago. Over time, the beams expanded due to the heat, which cracked the concrete.

"This stretch gave us more problems than just about any other we had," Brian Davis, Alabama Department of Transportation division engineer, told the paper "We had crews out here constantly. As soon as they finished one, we'd have to send them back to work on another."

Dunn Construction will fix the lanes using a method called rubblization, which crushes the original concrete roadway as a base for the new asphalt lanes. The new roadway will be 18 inches higher, requiring exit and entrance ramps and shoulders to also be raised.

Dunn will be penalized $30,000 for each day of work in addition to the 30-day construction period but paid $30,000 for each day if the contractor finishes before 30 days is up.

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