Plan ahead: I-85 ramp closures to begin soon in east Alabama

VALLEY, Ala. (WRBL) – In East Alabama, the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) is gearing up for a six-week-long reconstruction project at the I-85 interchange with US-29, with a primary focus on Exit 79 leading into Valley. The project’s initial phase, set to commence on Tuesday, Feb. 13, involves the removal of asphalt from the ramps and the replacement of a section of US-29 with concrete pavement.

Chief Mike Reynolds of the Valley Police Department warns, “Not only is it traffic on Interstate 85, they are also closing two lanes of Highway 29 going across the bridge, so that’s gonna go from a four-lane to a two-lane. For local people, if you can try to avoid the area because there’s gonna be a lot of folks detoured off the interstate who are going to be using that area, and it’s just gonna be a mess.”

The closure encompasses both entrance and exit ramps at Exit 79 in Valley, prompting ALDOT to advise drivers to use alternative routes, adjust travel times, and exercise extreme caution within the construction zones. Lowered speed limits and heightened awareness of construction crews are emphasized to ensure worker safety. Chief Reynolds adds, “If you have to go through that area, just be aware because of workers being out there. If you can’t do a bypass, allow for plenty of time to get through that area.”

The future phases of the interchange reconstruction will introduce lane shifts, closures, and additional detours. While the original tentative date was February 6, it has been pushed back to February 13 due to weather considerations. The overall timeline for completion is estimated to be six weeks.

Drivers planning to exit at Exit 79 during this period will need to detour through Exit 77, turning around and returning to use the exit.

As the project unfolds, ALDOT emphasizes the importance of prioritizing the safety of construction workers. Commuters passing through the construction area are urged to exercise caution, follow designated detours, and remain vigilant, ensuring the well-being of both fellow motorists and the dedicated construction teams working to enhance the transportation infrastructure.

The ramp closures mark the beginning of a broader resurfacing project, affecting all four interstate ramps at Exit 79. With an anticipated completion date of May 6 for this phase, commuters are advised to plan alternative routes during this period of construction activity.

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