13 INVESTIGATES: I-59 Pothole Probe - Alabamas13.com WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

13 INVESTIGATES: I-59 Pothole Probe

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On February 12, 2007, a tractor-trailer carrying this steel coil through the heart of Birmingham lost its load.

The 20 ton cylinder collided with the concrete railing near red mountain expressway.

In fact, numerous steel coils have poked holes through the heavily- traveled highway.

You can see the concrete repairs underneath.

Only feet from some of those scars is a new I-59 bridge casualty.

Thursday, something caused a chunk of concrete to come crashing down, which left a massive hole that wreaked havoc on one driver from Texas.

"I was in the middle lane and out of nowhere was a huge, huge pothole, they're calling it.  I don't what I would call it, bigger than a tire.  Right there.  Boom!  Hit it.  Along with 20 people behind me," Becky Lewis claimed.

About a dozen vehicles hit the hazard, popping their tires.

Within hours, a temporary metal plate was placed over the pothole.

A permanent fix will come later.

The pothole's exact cause is unclear, but Thursday's incident was another sign the I-59 Bridge by the BJCC is near its end.

So, what kind of shape is the bridge in?

We looked it up in a Department of Transportation database that has data on 15,858 Alabama bridges.

The I-59 Bridge at the BJCC was built in 19-72 and is classified as 'structurally deficient'.

That means its age and condition, qualify it for replacement.

Plus, it's taking more of a daily beating than most.

Of the fifty structurally deficient bridges in Jefferson County it is one the most heavily traveled.

The I-59 Bridge at the BJCC carries 78,675 vehicles every day.

The State plans to replace the bridge over the next three years.

There is some potential good news for all those who blew out their tires, hitting that pothole, Thursday .

The DOT tells us the "State Board of Adjustment" can reimburse drivers who suffer damage from poor road conditions.


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