This week on Roadscapes Wednesday, let’s talk about why more Interstates in Alabama need to be 6-laned. Right now, ALDOT has fallen further behind in keeping up with the massive traffic count growths on all of the freeways in this state. They are moving way too slow in upgrading freeways where traffic bunches up which causes delays and accidents. For example, a stretch of I-65 in Shelby and Chilton counties has already seen over 100 wrecks, and we are only halfway through 2015.
If I was planning highways in Alabama, all of I-65 between Birmingham and Montgomery would be 6-laned. The biggest reason, major traffic delays from people coming back from the beach. It’s not uncommon to see 90+ miles of traffic backups on the final day of a major holiday weekend on I-65. It’s not just I-65 though, ALDOT is moving way too slow on 6-laning I-20 from Birmingham to the Georgia state line. When is the Lincoln stretch going to be 6-laned, before another deadly accident happens?
How about I-20/59 heading towards Tuscaloosa, it’s begging for a 6-lane expansion! I-59 NE of Birmingham needs to be widened and now! And the stretches of I-20, I-59, and I-459 in Birmingham that are 4-lanes needs to be expanded, why has this not happened yet? I would also 6-lane all of I-85 in Alabama, and start in the Auburn and Opelika area. I-10 across Baldwin and Mobile counties should have been widened years ago. I-65 north of Birmingham towards Huntsville needs to be widened. Especially around the Cullman area. Who was that brilliant person who thought only two lanes going up Lacon Mountain was smart?
Not all Interstates need to be 6-laned in Alabama for now. I-59 NE of Gadsden has low traffic counts, as well as I-20/59 SW of Tuscaloosa. Also I-65 south of Montgomery and north of Mobile has not enough traffic counts for 6-laning, at least for now. But, if you look at this map below which I created. Stretches in blue have already been 6-laned or does not need to be 6-laned. The orange lines are stretches of Interstate in Alabama that needs to be 6-laned. You are looking at over 300 miles of Alabama Interstate that needs to be widened, and soon! Or in comparison, about all of I-65 in Alabama that needs an additional travel lane.
So ALDOT, how long are you going to wait on that federal check to get the widening done? Or are you too busy spending billions on a freeway around Birmingham that could go to reliving traffic issues instead? Man ALDOT, you have some messed up priorities!