HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Construction on a new Old Madison Pike bridge over Research Park Boulevard is scheduled to begin this week.

City officials said contractors will start shifting traffic on Old Madison Pike at 9 a.m. Thursday as part of the Research Park Boulevard improvement project.

In order to minimize traffic backups at the northbound exit from Research Park Boulevard to Old Madison Pike heading west, the traffic pattern will be converted to a free-flow movement. Drivers trying to access westbound Old Madison Pike will have to turn right toward Bradford Drive to access Research Park, city officials said.

The bridge’s construction will be staged so that one lane of traffic in each direction will remain open across the bridge until mid-2021, according to the city.

The bridge project will start with demolishing the existing bridge on the north side each night. Research Park Boulevard will be shifted to one lane of traffic in each direction during the night, officials said. Traffic will go back to two lanes in each direction during the day.