I’m just going to file this under the stupidity category. On May 31st, ALDOT closed down the 17th Street North exit along I-20 East / I-59 North in downtown Birmingham. The ramp is now closed so it can be torn down and the new ramps built in the whole I-20/59 Bridge project. Okay, we all knew this was coming, but what ALDOT did next is one of the craziest things I have seen from any DOT in this country.
They are now forcing all traffic on I-20/59 to exit at the 22nd Street North exit to get into downtown Birmingham. If you are coming down 22nd Street North from the BJCC, you are no longer able to go under the Interstate and must turn either left or right at 9th Avenue North.
From ABC 33/40.
That’s not even the crazy part, the stupid part comes after you exit the Interstate onto the street. From the Interstate to the 8th Avenue North, or the Reverend Abraham Woods Jr. Blvd., you are forced to stay in either side of two lanes with barriers going down the middle of the street.
From Google Maps
From ABC 33/40.
You can imagine what this has caused. Traffic getting off going South or West must go either straight or left. Going North or East, traffic must go either straight or right at Reverend Abraham Woods Jr. Blvd. Does ALDOT really think traffic will follow the new traffic pattern and not see cars crossing over to turn right over an lane going straight or a car turning left crossing over to turn left over an lane going straight? ABC 33/40 reporter Lauren Walsh caught multiple cars in a very short time crossing over that barrier and turning left or right and crossing lanes where cars can go straight.
And while Lauren Walsh was doing a live shot on the ABC 33/40 News, in only 15 seconds you saw two cars turning right and crossing an lane where cars going straight are doing so. (photos below from ABC 33/40)
So, does ALDOT love drivers getting into accidents or something. This is one of the worst designs I have ever seen. ALDOT did this because they did not want traffic backing up onto the Interstate. But when I watched the liveshots today on ABC 33/40, traffic did not back up that much and I wonder why the traffic light at the bottom of the ramp was even turned off?
Okay, if you insist in keeping this horrible design that is going to get people injured and in wrecks, you could set up the traffic lights just like the end of Interstate 359 in Tuscaloosa. Where the three lanes from the highway get a green light to make any turns, then the on ramp gets the green light to make any turns.
From Google Maps.
At the end of the day, this horrible and stupid design along 22nd Street North in Birmingham is not going to work, even if you put up all the signs and lane markings in the world to tell drivers which directions they can go. Drivers are going to take the shortest and fastest route they can to get to their destination. They are NOT going to loop around several city blocks and waste time because ALDOT designed something stupid. You will continue to see cars cutting across lanes to turn left and right where cars can go straight, and accidents are going to happen! Get this fixed, and now!