Work has begun by the Alabama Department of Transportation on the final leg of what has been a long journey to widen the heavily traveled interstate, making it safer and unsnarling the traditional traffic jam that occurs daily along the multi-mile stretch.
The plans to widen I-20 and improve safety and travel have spanned gubernatorial administrations. And local officials have pushed for changes as well.
Former Pell City Mayor Guin Robinson lobbied for the concrete barrier dividing opposing lanes of traffic in answer to far too many deaths and injuries due to accidents crossing the median.
Another former Pell City mayor, Adam Stocks, advocated for improvements to the U.S. 231 North bridge over I-20 and its exits to alleviate traffic hazards in that area.
Commission Chairman Stan Batemon also has been vocal in his push for improvements.
And over the years, state highway officials have overseen widening of the interstate through most of the St. Clair and Talladega counties’ sections of the I-20 corridor.
Now, the final piece of the puzzle is about to be put in place -- six lanes will replace four lanes of I-20 between Eden and Brompton.
Completion date is expected in October 2012 and while there will be inconveniences for the foreseeable future, when all is done, it will be a testament to the perseverance of a number of officials who saw this project through to the very end.