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Lowering interstate can renew connections

May 5, 2009

What would our community feel like if without the barrier of major interstate connections through downtown Birmingham? That’s what a recent concept report explored, through the guidance of Operation New Birmingham and the assistance of the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex and the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham.

The report evaluated the engineering, construction and cost feasibility for lowering a 1.5 mile section of I-20/I-59 between 31st Street and the I-65 interchange through the northern section of downtown Birmingham. This was recommended in the 2004 Birmingham City Center Master Plan, based on potential benefits including safety and capacity improvements, air, noise and vibration impact reductions and aesthetic and connectivity between the Civic Center District and downtown.

Next steps for the project include getting the project on the list of State Transportation Improvement Projects, which must be done by the local Metropolitan Planning Agency. In addition, there must be planning, public involvement and concept design work consistent with the Federal NEPA process, which will document project impacts (right-of-way, environmental, historical, ecological, community, etc) and project costs.

You can see a full discussion of the report on the ONB website

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