Rapid Growth in Birmingham Leads to Increased Crashes as Construction Continues on Northern Beltline Project

According to reports by the Alabama Department of Transportation, the northern beltline of Birmingham will remain under construction for some time. This is a 52-mile section of expressway that extends from I-59/20 around Bessemer and continues to I-59 just north of Trussville. Local motorists can get more information about this project here.

Of course, this is not the only major construction going on in the region. In late January 2019, I-59/20 closed through downtown for up to 14 months, according to Birmingham Real Time News. This means bridge construction, repairing old sections of culverts, and underground work, as well. While all this construction may be a great sign of growth for the local economy, it also means an increase in traffic congestion and traffic accidents, especially as commuters continue finding new ways to navigate around the closed arteries of the city.

Why Construction Leads to Wrecks

It may seem intuitive that with more construction, vehicles would slow down. But actually, the opposite can happen. As motorists grow more frustrated and have to leave earlier to get to and from work, they often begin speeding and looking for other ways to cut time off their commutes. This can lead to an increase in crashes, and not always low-impact ones.

As drivers speed through construction sites, there may be uneven pavement and moving vehicles (like construction vehicles, emergency vehicles, and earth movers). A crash at even 45 miles per hour with a large construction vehicle can prove fatal. Pedestrians are more likely to be present in construction zones, as well. Therefore, there is always a risk of increased worker injuries.

Worker Injuries to be Avoided at All Cost

According to the Alabama News Network, 2015 and 2016 were already bad years for Alabama work zone crashes. In 2016, there were 2,027 total crashes in work zones in the state, and these caused 14 deaths and upwards of 645 reported injuries. This is all before any ground broke on the current Birmingham projects.

Likewise, although 2016 marked a decline in deaths, 2015 was still bad with 31 fatalities, 705 injuries, and a total of 2,452 crashes. Sadly, it is highly likely that this trend will continue and perhaps even get worse as all the Birmingham construction projects converge this year and next.

Other Major Projects

The bridge from northbound Red Mountain Expressway to I-59/20 Northbound was briefly shut down earlier last month, but it has since reopened, according to reports by Birmingham Real Time News. It is yet to be determined if this ramp or others nearby will continue to be shut and reopened at various times to allow for continued construction efforts.

What to do if Injured in a Car Accident in a Construction Zone

If you are involved in a car accident in one of these work zones, it is important to know what to do. Here is a quick reference to help you if you should be involved in a crash.

  • Move if able: If there is a shoulder, try to get your car to the shoulder and pull over so you do not cause a follow-up accident. Put on your hazards and stay in the vehicle. If there is no shoulder, get your car as close to the side of the road as possible. In most cases, the right side of the road is best, but you will have to use your judgment.
  • Call 9-1-1 immediately: Do not try to deal with everything alone. Get the police on the way. You never know who the other party is. They could be aggressive, violent, or intoxicated. Plus, the police can document the scene, create an official report, get EMS on scene to treat injuries, and they can try to keep traffic safely moving around you so no one else gets hurt.
  • Go to the hospital: No, you should not try to “tough it out” if you are hurt in a crash. Instead, trust your instincts and get medical attention. Even if you are just a little sore, this could be a sign of whiplash, a cervical disc injury, or even a fracture. Sometimes the pain takes days or even weeks to fully manifest. It is not worth taking chances.
  • Keep paperwork: The police will probably give you a printout with important information about the other driver, his or her insurance company, and the incident details. This will be very important to your attorney later, as it will help in gathering evidence and setting up a claim.
  • Call an attorney as soon as possible: Some people delay calling a lawyer for weeks, months, or shockingly even years. Do not make that mistake. Call a lawyer the moment you are safe and able. Or, have a family member do it. The point is to have an attorney investigating the crash before all the evidence is gone. A construction zone is by necessity temporary. Skid marks, damage to railings and barriers, and damaged signs will likely all be gone quickly. If you call Heninger Garrison Davis, LLC, we will rush to gather evidence, including photos, videos, and anything else that might help your case.
  • Follow doctors’ orders: If your doctor is treating you and tells you to stay home for three days and not lift anything weighing more than 20 pounds, do exactly what he or she says. If you ignore your doctors’ recommendations, you could severely hurt your case.
  • Stay off social media: Whatever you do, do not post things on social media. Just tell friends and family you will be taking a break for a while and if they want to check in, they can call you. Do not put anything in writing about your case unless you are writing it to your attorney.

Trust Heninger Garrison Davis, LLC

If you need help following a crash in a construction site near Birmingham, you can count on Heninger Garrison Davis, LLC to be there. We never take a fee unless we succeed, and you owe us nothing if we do not. Consultations are free, so call today.

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