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U.S. 231 Bridges in Morgan County Open to Traffic

Both roadways of U.S. 231 between Lacey’s Spring and Morgan City opened Monday, more than two months ahead of the scheduled deadline. 

The $14.6 million project included twin bridges constructed to safely span the landslide on Brindlee Mountain. The highway was damaged in February by a landslide triggered by torrential rains. Under Gov. Kay Ivey’s state of emergency proclamation, the Alabama Department of Transportation used all means available, including expedited bidding and contract award.

The reopening was celebrated by state legislators and local officials in a ceremony at Ditto Landing in Huntsville. 

“I am proud that the people of Morgan County and surrounding areas will now be able to enjoy an easier and smoother commute on (U.S.) 231,” Ivey said in a statement. “Not only has a repair and improvement been made to the infrastructure, but it was completed more than two months ahead of schedule, thanks to the state working hard with a private sector partner.

“We remain committed to enhancing Alabama’s transportation infrastructure to ensure every Alabamian in all parts of the state can reap the benefits. This is certainly exciting and welcome news.”

ALDOT produced the bridge design on a reduced timeline, advanced one phase of work simultaneous with preparation for the next phase, ordered $4.2 million in custom-fabricated materials in advance to reduce procurement time, and attached substantial incentives/disincentives to the project to spur early completion. 

After Reed Contracting of Huntsville removed about 200,000 cubic yards of dirt and debris from the slide area in May, Brasfield & Gorrie of Birmingham began bridge construction June 1. Brasfield & Gorrie completed the structures in less than four months, despite initial estimates placing the timeline at a year or more. 

“We’ve been honored to work with the Alabama Department of Transportation on this important project in our home state,” said Brasfield & Gorrie Vice President and Division Manager Bryan Myers. “Our accelerated construction plan was developed with the goal of completing the bridges as quickly as possible. Brasfield & Gorrie’s self-perform concrete crews, along with our trade contractors and supplier partners, have worked extremely hard over the past four months to get to this point in the project.

“We’re grateful that we were able to complete this important job well ahead of schedule.” 

The contractor stands to receive nearly $2.5 million in incentive payments for reopening U.S. 231 well ahead of the Dec. 2 deadline. Because some further work items are exempt from the deadline, motorists are advised that the area will remain a work zone and temporary single-lane closures are possible. 

Each bridge is about 1,000 feet long and 44 feet wide, accommodating two 12-foot lanes with 10- foot shoulders, and is constructed on stable foundations— massive drilled shafts socketed in solid rock beneath the landslide. Prior to the closure, a daily average of 10,000 to 15,000 vehicles traveled the road in western Morgan County, about five miles south of Huntsville. 

U.S. 72 Resurfacing Project to Begin In Madison, Jackson Counties

The Alabama Department of Transportation advises motorists that a major resurfacing project on U.S. 72 in eastern Madison County and western Jackson County will begin.

Whitaker Contracting will be resurfacing more than 16 miles of the four-lane highway, from east of the Flint River in the Brownsboro area to east of Parnell Circle in the Woodville area. Work on the westbound lanes will be complete before progressing to the eastbound lanes. The $11,658,369 contract sets a Nov. 19, 2021, deadline for completion.

Prior to milling and paving beginning, a subcontractor will perform work on bridge guard rails. That work will start June 23, weather permitting. Motorists are advised to expect single- lane closures on U.S. 72 westbound between Jackson County 7 and Jackson County 63 in Woodville from about 8 a.m. to about 5 p.m. daily.

Motorists are asked to drive with caution in the work zone, reduce speed and be prepared to merge.

 

Reed Submits Apparent Low Bid of $14.3M for I-565 Widening Project

Huntsville’s Reed Contracting is the apparent low bidder to widen and resurface Interstate 565 in Limestone County.

The Alabama Department of Transportation opened bids for the project, one of the first major projects funded by the Rebuild Alabama Act.

Reed Contracting’s bid was $14,312,713.82. Bids must undergo review before the contract will be awarded through an expedited award process and the winning contractor given notice to proceed. Work is anticipated to begin in June or July.

The winning contractor will be incentivized to complete the project prior to Dec. 17, 2021, receiving $25,000 per day the project is complete ahead of that deadline, up to a maximum of 50 days and $1.25 million.

The project will resurface more than seven miles of I-565 from just west of Exit 1 (Interstate 65) to just west of Exit 7 (County Line Road). Paving on existing shoulders will expand the highway to three travel lanes in each direction.

State DOT Filling Potholes, Investigating Cracks

The torrential rains that brought flood conditions to the area also wreaked havoc with the highways, creating potholes and cracks as wide as a lane.

State Department of Transportation crews began filling potholes that made Interstate-565 resemble a moonscape more than a highway.

Seth Burkett, ALDOT’s North Region public information officer, said “several tons of cold mix went into filling potholes on I-565 in Huntsville” Monday night.

“Some potholes remain, so motorists are advised to continue to use caution,” he said. “District crews will be working again (Tuesday night), and on subsequent nights as weather permits until these are addressed.”

Burkett also cited work that will be ongoing in Limestone and Morgan counties:

Limestone County

  • Alabama 99 north of the Elk River remains closed due to flooding.
  • Crews are working on I-565 today patching potholes. Reed Contracting is handling those at the Greenbrier interchange. State crews are addressing those elsewhere between Interstate 65 and County Line Road.

Morgan County

  • We are still investigating the geotechnical issue (one southbound lane of the four-lane highway is cracked) on U.S. 231. One lane remains open southbound.
  • We are investigating another issue on Alabama 24 eastbound just west of West Morgan Road. This is an area that we have been monitoring for some time, but it showed some movement during or following the rain. Closure of the outside eastbound lane is possible in the near future.